From MICHELLE LOVE | Employed author
HELENA – On Thursday, December 2nd, the Helena Police Department held a special press conference to showcase its new body camera and in-car video system technology. Chief Brad Flynn called the new BodyWorn by Utility technology “a game changer”.
“This is a state-of-the-art system that not only gives us excellent video and audio recordings from bodycams and vehicles, but also provides more security for the officers that no other system on the market can offer and I believe it will serve our community and our officers very well, ”said Flynn.
The new body camera system differs from the previous system in many ways.
While the old bodycam technology was attached to an officer’s uniform and could easily be torn off, the new technology is attached to the officer’s uniform, records through a lens on the front of the uniform, and then feeds audio and video through an iCloud server.
The server is another revolutionary aspect of technology. Not only is it easy to access, but it also keeps the video organized by category. The video is logged based on the type of crime, such as DUIs or traffic violations. The officer will log the video according to his specific category and the video will then be saved on the server as long as the law of this offense is.
“We’ve shopped and shopped and shopped and nothing compares to that,” said Lieutenant Josh Lindsey. “This is cutting-edge technology.”
Lieutenant Charles Hudson modeled the technology and demonstrated some of its new features. BodyWorn technology, for example, has a new feature that detects when an officer is on the ground and alerts surrounding officers to their situation. But the feature can not only save the lives of officers.
“There was a case with a department that was using BodyWorn technology and one night an officer was pulled to the side of the road by someone waving,” Lindsey said. “It ended up being a desperate parent whose toddler had stopped breathing and they didn’t know what to do. So the officer lay down on the ground and started the resuscitation and the alarm went off that an officer was on the ground. Instead of getting up and correcting it, he realized he could use the alarm to bring help, and that is exactly what happened. “
Hudson also demonstrated how the technology is linked to the officer’s holster. As soon as a weapon is taken out of the holster, the technology records when and how long the weapon remains out of the holster and logs it into the system.
“It makes a mark on the video that records exactly what time the gun was holstered during the shoot,” said Hudson. “That way, if someone has tried to say, ‘Oh, he had his gun drawn and pointed at me the whole time,’ we can say, ‘Actually, it was out for 12 seconds or whatever,’ and it is 100 percent precise. “
Helena is the first Alabama law enforcement agency to use this technology, and Lindsey said it will undoubtedly save countless lives.
“Yes, it helps keep us safe, but it’s really about making sure everyone is safe,” said Lindsey.
Flynn especially thanked Helena’s Mayor Brian Puckett and the Helena City Council for making the transition to BodyWorn possible.
“We are very, very grateful to the Mayor and City Council of Helena for approving this in the city budget,” said Flynn. “You know, there are departments out there that don’t want to spend the money on something like that, but how can you cost human lives?”