About 1.6 seconds is all it takes for the average suspect to pull a gun and fire at a police officer. That is a blur and often the details get lost in the action. That's one reason why body-worn cameras can be such an invaluable tool for law enforcement.
Research has confirmed that body-worn cameras have other benefits as well, including lowering the frequency of use of force against officers and citizen complaints by capturing credible evidence of a rapidly evolving incident. News articles have repeatedly called attention to the use of body-worn camera video being used to help clear officers of accusations of wrongdoing or substantiate the facts for a use-of-force incident.
In one incident an undercover sergeant from California said, “We recorded a traffic stop that led to a methamphetamine for sale arrest. The suspect initially told detectives it was not her car, purse, or drugs. Once she was told the whole stop and her conversations were all video recorded and her attorney saw the supplemental report to that effect, she pleaded guilty and took the offered deal at the preliminary hearing thus saving court time, trial. OT, etc.”
One of the first law enforcement body cameras sold in the United States was produced by Vievu, now a Safariland company. Vievu cameras are currently in use with the New York City Police Department, the Miami-Dade Police Department, the Phoenix Police Department, and other major agencies.
The Oakland Police Department (OPD) is in the process of approving a $1.27 million contract to purchase 800 new Vievu body-worn cameras. “We were very happy to see Oakland continue to maintain its prestigious position with a growing list of departments that have decided to go with our body camera systems or upgrade to our latest body camera systems,” said David Kingston, GM and VP of Vievu.
Oakland PD was an early advocate of Vievu body camera technology and has been using the company's products since 2010. The department currently has 775 cameras; most of them the Vievu LE3 model. Now the department is moving to upgrade all of its officers' cameras to the latest Vievu model, the LE5.
“Early on the Oakland Police Department believed in the benefits of their officers wearing body-worn cameras and has been a great partner and decided to go with Vievu after testing and evaluating several body camera systems,” Kingston said.
Vievu has been winning the support of major police departments around the country because of its flexible technical architecture, according to Kingston. “We wanted Vievu to follow the ethos of our parent company Safariland and serve the law enforcement community. We designed the body camera system that was simple and offered multiple options for departments from lens view, storage and access, to 24/7 technical assistance with a product that is 'law enforcement tested.'
Our commitment at Vievu was to provide a tool that would both protect the officers and enhance overall public safety. Our camera system enables both the police and public to view an incident from the same vantage point, removing the he said/she said and working from facts. As we've seen from high-profile incidents, when the facts are in question or left to interpretation, unintended consequences occur. Our system helps prevent that and adds 'from the officer’s vantage point' reality that gives officers, departments, courts and, the public a view they can trust," Kingston said.