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March 28, 2006
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An Eye On Crime

Reprinted courtesy of American COP Magazine

There’s no doubt part of our job is dangerous. We all knew it when we signed up. I can’t count the number of times I entered a dark business in the middle of the night not knowing the potential threat or who might be lurking. We all know passing through a threshold exposes us to the fatal funnel. What if you knew what to expect? No guessing means less trepidation. Some of the newest camera technology comes from Remington Arms Technologies. Yeah, the same guys that make the 870 shotgun sitting next to you in your patrol car — just a different division. They may just offer a solution dramatically reducing the “guesses” when lives are on the line. This wireless video system is unique because it’s capable of viewing a total of 360º with one camera and transmitting the information back to wireless mobile display screen. It’s called the EYE BALL R1. It’s compact, portable and most importantly, it’s easy to use.

Technical Stuff
Each EYE BALL kit comes fully secured in a Pelican case with two camera balls, a training/decoy ball and a wireless display receiver capable of viewing either camera ball. The audio and video transmitters operate in the FCC’s unlicensed 2.4Ghz band. The controller uses 900Mhz frequencies to operate its onboard motors. With an effective “send and receive” range in urban environments of about 40 yards, it can transmit through a limited number of obstacles such as wood walls, glass and concrete. Outdoors, in direct line-of-sight range increases to about 200 yards — practical for surveillance operations. The camera lens is effective to about 25 yards and normal conversations can be overheard within about 10' to 15'. For low-light situations, the EYE BALL’s near-infrared illumination system is good for about nine yards.

The PDU runs on battery power for about three hours or on AC. It has two ports located on the base allowing you to connect external monitors to record both video and audio transmissions. That’s an important feature when using the system as a surveillance operations tool.

Operating the EYE BALL’s rotation motors can cause some momentary interference — it only lasts about a second. Remington’s engineers have reduced the interference to a half second on newer models. The system will last about two hours on a fully charged battery. That’s more than enough time to accomplish a mission.

In the future, I hope Remington con-siders the move from analog to digital for its transmitters. And, since it’s shaped like a ball, why not make it look like one. A “camouflaged” look like an old beat-up ball would draw less attention.

There are endless instances where using this device would be better than sending in an officer. Clearing crawl spaces, pushing up through a ceiling or a building’s stairwell or just placing it on the ground in a surveillance situation just to name a few.

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