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An Eye for Trouble

If your patrol vehicle doesn't have a digital camera on board, you don't know what you're missing.

October 01, 2007  |  by Melanie Hamilton and Dean Scoville


We've all heard the occasional grumbling from officers who feel cameras in their patrol cars are tools for the brass to spy on them. But we've also no doubt heard reports of in-car video revealing criminals' true colors in court, and effectively sealing their fates. If it's just your word against the suspect's it could go either way-especially if said suspect looks nice in his suit and comes up with some sob story for a sympathetic jury. It's funny how seeing a person on video in all his law-breaking glory can open a juror's eyes.

Yes, having a camera in the car can feel a bit like Big Brother is watching you. But wouldn't you rather have that extra eye on your side when it comes down to a legal battle? Not to mention all the cool features on today's digital video systems that make presenting evidence in court a snap. The following is a sampling of mobile video systems that will back you up on the stand.

Data911: Multi-Camera Digital Video

The Mobile Digital Video (MDV) system is Data9ll's complete mobile video management solution designed exclusively for the public safety sector. It captures video and audio from the Video Processing Unit, either on a continuous or incident-triggered basis. The system's Mobile Management System provides viewing of live images from up to four in-vehicle cameras and review of archived video/audio files. You can transmit data by hands-free wireless uploads or through the use of removable storage such as USB keys, while a central automated system manages the data. As a modular component of Data9ll's Mobile Data System technology, the MDV makes economical use of computer resources and integrates with agencies' current and planned mobile data technologies by maintaining an open architecture. Need FREEinfo? Use #20340.

Digital Ally: Wireless-Downloading DVR

Even if you don't use one, you've probably seen Digital Ally's digital in-car video system that's integrated into a rearview mirror. Whether you already own the DVM 500 or you're planning a purchase, you can now add a wireless software file transfer system to the unit. With this option, the system can transfer video files automatically or manually upon successful connection to a network. If the connection is lost or the transfer is interrupted the files will be saved and the software will resume transferring the files when it reconnects to the network. Once the transfer is verified, the system automatically removes the files from the compact flash card and uploads them into Digital Ally's Video Manager Software. Need FREEinfo? Use #20341.

ICOP Digital: In-Dash Mounted for Safety

The ICOP Model 20/20-W includes a DVR, 40 GB vehicle-grade hard drive, integrated color LCD monitor, and all system controls in a one-piece shock-resistant case that fits entirely within the radio slot of a patrol car's dashboard. The officer's field of vision is never blocked and no components need to be mounted in the trunk. The system records simultaneously from two cameras: a Sony Super HAD color CCD camera with image-sensing capability and a micro B&W Sony compact camera for recording suspects in the back seat. Audio is recorded on two separate audio channels using a wireless microphone system and an interior microphone. The MARK feature tags important events for later recall. Advanced wireless technology allows the system to capture and upload much higher quality video up to five to 10 times faster than other video systems. Need FREEinfo? Use #20342.

L-3 Communications Mobile-Vision: In-Car and Back Office Video Management

Using DVR technology, NiteWatch low-light color zoom camera, rear seat wide angle camera, wireless microphone system, and in-car microphone, L-3's Flashback in-car video system can capture all aspects of a patrol incident. The universal monitor console unit allows officers to concurrently record two cameras and three audio inputs, and immediately classify incidents for later storage and retrieval. The Digital Evidence Viewer (DEV) software provides for secure file transfer and powerful search features. Larger agencies will benefit from the Digital Evidence Pro software, which provides the same features as the DEV, plus multiple user Web browser access. The included GPS module allows for searchability by location and synchronizes the time for all department vehicles. Need FREEinfo? Use #20343.

Martel Electronics: Compact Police Car Video System

This compact video system can videotape police stops, take digital photos, mount permanently to the visor for traffic stops, and has a removable handheld camera for documenting evidence outside of the car. My Digital Partner 2, or MDP2 for short, records up to six hours of video onto a memory stick or straight to videotape. The included USB docking station can be used to download video and photos to a computer for burning into CDs or DVDs for court presentations. Other features include night vision and a wireless microphone with a 1500-foot range. Need FREEinfo? Use #20344.

Panasonic: Durability and Simplicity

The recently upgraded Toughbook Arbitrator system provides law enforcement with enhanced capability for storing and managing video evidence. With the I-Vision Central Management System (CMS) designed by Insight Video Net, agencies can set their own parameters for archiving, searching, managing, and tracking video evidence based on their own policies and local statutes. CMS also integrates with an agency's existing digital video management system to enable searches by category, such as incident, car number, officer name, and time of day. The 16 GB storage card provides extended recording times. The Arbitrator SI software interface allows officers to control the Arbitrator through their mounted Toughbook notebooks while also accessing other applications and alerts within the unit. Need FREEinfo? Use #20345.

WatchGuard Video: Record In-car Video Direct to DVD

Record up to eight hours of high-quality digital video directly from your patrol car to a rewritable DVD-no complicated transfers to and from intermediary servers. The WatchGuard DV-1 digital in-car video system provides a fast, efficient, and cost effective method for preserving original video on patrol. It records the video in selectable chapters with time/date stamps for each incident, making it easy to present evidence in court. The dual hard drive architecture provides automatic DVD backup for making copies, buffers overflow video if a DVD fills to capacity, and allows you to watch playback while simultaneously recording new video. The system can be mounted overhead inside the patrol car, freeing interior space and providing direct access to the DVD drive. Need FREEinfo? Use #20346.

Tags: Patrol Car Video

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