4 ways the new LE5 body-worn camera from Safariland VIEVU supports transparency for police agencies
New, configurable features enhance connectivity and enable users to customize the body-worn cameras according to agency needs and policies
Sponsored by VIEVU
By PoliceOne BrandFocus Staff
Body-worn cameras have become essential tools for modern policing. In addition to providing audio and video evidence for prosecutorial purposes, there is an inherent transparency in providing a neutral account of events, with community organizations and police departments increasingly demanding such transparency.
Cameras and video recordings often prove a useful tool for de-escalation, as well, and resulting video can support situational training.
VIEVU’s new LE5 body-worn camera builds on the company’s existing technology with new configurable features and support for in-field connectivity and auto activation options. As policing becomes more technology-driven, these features open the door to new opportunities for communication and collaboration.
Here are 4 features of VIEVU’s new LE5 body-worn cameras that make it easy to capture an accurate record of events for increased transparency.
As diverse as police agencies, their policies and their officers are, body-worn cameras must accommodate a range of needs that can only be met with configurable settings. New features like selectable fields of view, covert mode and pre- and post-recording options allow for greater camera customization.
VIEVU also offers flexible software options so agencies can choose the evidence management solution that best suits their needs. Video evidence from the LE5 body-worn camera can be managed with a CJIS-compliant Microsoft Azure Government cloud-based solution, on-premises storage or a combination approach, according to agency preference.
“We provide body-worn camera technology that supports the unique needs of each police department,” said Jason Wine, vice president of engineering and technology for VIEVU. “Our cameras allow agencies to select the appropriate level of transparency for them, building trust with the community while maintaining control over what features and capabilities they have.”
When to activate body-worn cameras is a common dilemma, and the easier it is to switch recording on or off, the easier it is for the officer to remain focused on the situation at hand. The LE5 series cameras offer a slide switch to control camera activation. High-efficiency wireless and wired connectivity options allow for automatic activation as well.
With the LE5, VIEVU also offers a holster-based CAS technology option in conjunction with the Safariland 7TS duty holster. The Camera Auto-Activation System, or CAS, automatically activates the body-worn camera when an officer draws his or her firearm, so the officer can focus completely on the situation at hand.
“In the heat of the moment, an officer may not have time to both draw his or her firearm and activate the camera,” said Wine. “We want to make sure these cameras are turning on during the most critical moments to take the onus off the officer. Officers can be confident their camera is on as they focus on the moment and the situation.”
The LE5 body-worn camera also provides Wi-Fi and high-efficiency wireless connectivity for integration with other devices and systems. This enables remote activation as well as opportunities for real-time viewing and surveillance.
“Typically, agencies download video data through docking stations when officers recharge the cameras,” Wine said, “but with LE5, they have the flexibility of uploading from anywhere there’s an internet connection.”
The industry-standard USB-C connector on the LE5 has a symmetrical and reversible design that allows for fast charging, high-speed uploads and easy docking.
Officers also can upload video and add metadata using the VIEVU mobile app. This allows officers to add notes while details are fresh in their minds for more accurate reporting. Mobile access and new processing features on the back end further shift the burden from officers to technology to help ensure officers’ time is spent focused on policing.
An important new feature allows each agency to adjust the cameras’ field of view according to their preference. Agencies can choose between recording a view of 70, 95 or 120 degrees. The default setting is 95 degrees, closest to the human eye’s perspective.
As with any camera, the image is the objective, and the LE5 cameras are designed to capture video without “fisheye” image distortion or infrared enhancement to provide a greater degree of accuracy that reflects what the officer saw in the moment.
“The goal is to replicate the human eye,” said Wine. “We’re supposed to be a bystander, without bias, recording what is occurring. To do that, we want an accurate representation of what that officer is actually seeing. Our cameras capture evidence without relying on technologies such as infrared that might alter critical details.”
Increasing the field of view beyond 100 degrees begins to introduce fisheye distortion that bends the image around the edges, which can make it difficult to identify people, read license plates and measure distances. However, some agencies may consider a wider view more important than being able to measure details in the edge of a video frame.
Additionally, the new LE5 cameras also offer up to three minutes of pre-recording and up to one minute of post-recording for added context to any event. This additional information can make a difference in court, whether the justice system or the court of public opinion.
Weighing less than 5 ounces, the new LE5 cameras offer full-shift battery life and more than 12 hours of active recording time for reliability. An empty battery recharges completely in four hours.
For added configurability, VIEVU’s new ClipLock System provides the ability to quickly and easily change mount styles without the need for tools, plus safeguards against accidental drops. Four mounting options are currently offered, and more will be available in early 2018 to cover every shift in the department and account for seasonal uniform changes.
With the LE5, VIEVU offers a range of features and options that allows an agency to configure the body-worn camera system for a solution that fits their needs and the diverse needs of their officers.