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Police departments test gun-mounted cameras

The camera starts rolling when the weapon is drawn


By PoliceOne Staff

Body cameras have been implemented in various departments to strengthen trust with the community. 

But some law enforcement officials and experts have criticized the technology, saying an officer’s line of sight is easily blocked. Soon, there might be a different point of view — from the barrel of an officer’s gun.

A rendition of the shield weapon camera (Photo/Centinel Solutions)
A rendition of the shield weapon camera (Photo/Centinel Solutions)

According to CNBC, Centinel Solutions has developed a gun camera aimed at providing a better perspective for police videos. 

“Your typical body camera will pre-record 30 seconds before you hit the record button…so in an officer-involved shooting you can appreciate that if there is a threat, the priority isn’t going to be to turn the body camera on,” CEO Max Kramer told Fox Business. 

Kramer said the company wanted to build an improved system, creating the camera after multiple conversations with law enforcement. 

“We spoke to the unions and they were all saying, ‘this is what we needed’…with a body camera that’s a question of when do you record, when do you not record, what’s privacy, what’s not privacy? So this would be ‘I pulled my weapon, this is why I pulled it,’” Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway told Fox.

The camera is mounted under the barrel of the gun and starts filming when the officer draws their weapon. Paired with a mobile app, the camera sends an alert back to the station that informs the department of the officer’s location.  

Holloway said his department, which is testing the technology, likes the location alert because it allows departments to send backup faster. 

“They have an extra feature that when you pull your weapon, it sends an alert to the supervisors and partners that the weapon has been pulled so they know you need help,” Holloway said.

The devices are built with safeguards and integrity controls as well. 

“An administrator or shift supervisor will be notified of the battery status… if the device is actually pulled from the holster or if someone is trying to turn it off,” Kramer said.

The camera fits the majority of gun holsters and the software follows law enforcement protocol for accessing and logging files.

The gun camera is being tested at select departments in conjunction with body cameras. The devices will soon be rolled out on street patrol and departments will develop policies on footage storage, CNBC reported. 

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