An Extra Set of Eyes: In Car Camera Systems For Police Officers
Being a police officer is one of the toughest and most thankless jobs in the country. There were an estimated 780,000 police officers in 2012. By 2022, the US is expected to hire an additional 41,000 officers. With so much manpower, police departments throughout the country often struggle with providing the right resources and training for their officers. One resource many police agencies use are in car camera systems. Police car video cameras are an invaluable resource for law enforcement for both tactical and training purposes.
About 72% of state police and highway patrol vehicles come equipped with dash cameras, and that number is expected to increase. Did you know, for example, that in 2004, 47 states and Washington D.C. received more than 21 million dollar from the federal government in order to purchase dash cameras for local and state police departments? In car camera systems are popular for a variety of reasons:
- They deter crime: Criminals tend to stop what they are doing when a patrol car shows up. Think of what criminals would do if they knew that the police car has a camera that records their every move? Having in car police systems protect the public in that very few people would commit a crime on camera, and having a dash camera on a squad car is an extra deterrent.
- They provide excellent evidence: For those criminals stupid enough to commit a crime on camera, having in car camera systems is an easy and direct way of collecting evidence. It is very difficult to challenge a charge when it is caught on camera!
- They help police with procedures and training: Police departments will often review dash camera footage to make sure police officers follow protocol. Videos are used by law enforcement as part of training. By showing footage of proper (and improper) police conduct, law enforcement trainers can show current and in-training police officers how to handle certain situations. It provides a training guide of-sorts for police officers still learning about proper and effective police work.
Having a camera system installed in squad cars throughout the country is an effective and innovative way of training and reviewing police officers in their dangerous but vital jobs for the public.