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Key considerations when evaluating body-worn camera solutions

To help agencies navigate the complex journey of evaluating and selecting digital evidence solutions, Motorola Solutions has launched a white paper series that explores important factors and basic, key considerations.  As we all know, new technology deployments can have unexpected impacts that may negate a solution’s intended value.  Before determining which solution is right for your agency, decision-makers should recognize how each new piece of technology can impact frontline officers’ ability to successfully do their job and protect their community.

The first paper in the series looks at THE BODY-WORN CAMERA EXPERIENCE and what to consider before investing in a solution. With the current push to add body-worn cameras (BWCs) to an officer’s growing list of complex and cumbersome gear, deciding on a solution is a big decision with potential negative consequences. To get the best results, reduce complexity, and ultimately, to help law enforcement better achieve their mission, here are four important things to consider:

  1. Flexible wearability

    While officers and their uniforms come in various shapes and sizes, they also have multiple items to carry and/or wear while out on patrol. These variations can have a direct impact on whether a body-worn camera can be used successfully. When evaluating BWCs, agencies should consider its wearing options, camera field of view, and camera articulation (the ability of the camera to be positioned or rotated based on how an officer wears it). Law enforcement officers take great pride in their uniforms and in their appearance while wearing them. Many BWCs may mount in a way that diminishes that appearance. This factor alone is not critical, but giving it consideration respects the uniform, and the men and women who wear it.

  2. Streamlined Operability

    In addition to the laundry list of items officers are carrying and wearing, is are also an assortment of technology inside the police car. Dispatch radio, dashboard displays, a laptop, and the list goes on. The technology overload officers face can make it hard to justify adding something new to that already cumbersome list. Yet BWCs are rapidly becoming mandatory. Unfortunately, many BWCs are bulky with some even requiring a companion smartphone to manage the video aspect.  One way to reduce the burden of this additional equipment is to use BWCs that do more than just capture video. For instance, a BWC with an integrated user interface can eliminate the need to carry an extra smartphone while still allowing advanced features like remote video tagging. Integrating RSM capabilities into the BWC can also go a step further to remove the need for multiple devices.

  3. Management efficiency

    While in-field tagging can reduce the timeofficers spend back in the station, it canpotentially reduce alert patrol time, too. A truly efficient process is one that keeps officers on the streets and engaged with the community while minimizing distractions.Tight technology integration that automatically associates metadata and other pertinent information with video can boost efficiency. This integration could be a BWC that can automatically associate capture location data and officer ID from an integrated radio, or an incident type and number automatically integrated from a computer-aided dispatch and records management system. Automated controls over video footage tags and metadata can also ensure standardization for grouping, filtering and searching for content when it’s needed later.

  4. Long-term investment value

    As technology continues to evolve, devices, networks and applications capable of working together seamlessly will become even more important. When considering a BWC purchase and how it will affect your department’s ability to grow,its ecosystem is just as important as its wearability, operability, and intelligent management features. From this viewpoint, the BWC transforms from a singularly purposed device into an integral part of a true policing platform. Therefore, it becomes critical to weigh each BWC vendor’s total breadth of expertise delivering more holistic value to your agency.

When implemented properly, body-worn cameras have the power to provide greater transparency and accountability. But like any technology, without the proper solution and supporting ecosystem, they can have the opposite effect, adding unneeded complexity and actually hindering officers’ ability to do their jobs. By taking into account basic, key considerations such as wearability, operability, management features, and total return on investment, you can ensure body-worn cameras deliver their promised value of improving community relations and public trust, without hindering officers in their mission to keep our communities safe.

To download the entire white paper series, please visit: https://www.motorolasolutions.com/en_us/solutions/digital-evidence-management-solution/things-to-consider.html#download.


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