4 reasons officers should use body-worn cameras in conjunction with in-car cameras
Capturing evidence from multiple angles offers a complete picture for officers in the field
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By PoliceOne Staff
Whether you are an advocate or a critic, body-worn cameras may soon be a part of every officer’s life. The risk of not adopting video technology is too great, and there are benefits beyond protecting officers who are just doing their jobs.
However, in-car and body-worn cameras are best used together to form a more complete picture of the events surrounding an officer. Here are four reasons why combining the two technologies increases officers safety on and off the field.
1. Your body-worn camera isn’t always pointed toward danger
When you wear a body worn camera, it will always face in the direction that you are facing. Whether you wear it on your uniform or on your glasses, it won’t be able to record all of the things happening behind you or in your periphery. Being able to record events happening outside the direct point of view of the officer can provide a much clearer picture of the situation happening outside the field of view of the officer, which is where the Flashback in-car camera can be a great addition.
2. Body-worn cameras are not as effective in a cruiser
When you are patrolling on foot, the body-worn camera captures what it needs to. But, when you get in your cruiser, it’s a different story. If you aren’t sitting completely straight with perfect posture, or if you turn to look at your MDC or grab something out of your duty bag, your camera isn’t capturing much of anything other than the interior of your car. A moment looking away could be the difference between capturing an incident on video and not capturing it.
Using a body-worn camera on the dash in place of an in-car video system provides a view from one angle but not the multiple views captured in and out of the cruiser. In the heat of the moment, the last thing officers need to think about is transferring a body-worn camera from the dash to his chest or clip. Body-worn are best for what they made for, to be worn on the body.
3. In-car video can’t go with the officer when he moves away from his vehicle
The real benefit of having video is to capture and record the facts of contentious situations that every officer faces. Unfortunately, not all of these take place in front of the patrol car. If you are away from your vehicle, whether due to a foot chase or because you are investigating something in a building, having a camera that can come with you can make all the difference.
4. Using both together allows you to capture the whole picture
As they say, there are three sides to every story. In the case of body worn and in-car video, the old adage rings as true as ever. When confronted with a false claim or possible litigation, having a third view of the situation can circumvent any he said/she said issues. With both the in-car and body-worn cameras working in tandem, you’ll have access to all three stories. The officer’s perspective is captured on the body-worn camera, while in-car video captures the bigger picture. It sees what’s happening in and around the cruiser, where the majority of incidents occur.
Together, body-worn and in-car video document the whole picture. By recording two different perspectives of the scene, a clearer version of the events that transpired can be pieced together for evidence and other applications.