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Analysis from Utility Shows Hidden Costs of Body-Worn Cameras

Utility found that automatic redaction and offloading drastically lowers the cost of police body-worn camera deployment.

Utility has published an analysis of the true cost of ownership for police body-worn cameras. The analysis shows how the five-year total cost of ownership of these cameras could be cut in half by paying attention to hidden, and often unnecessary, costs instead of choosing a camera based on cost of device alone. In addition, the company found that its Bodyworn solution can save law enforcement agencies more than $12,000 per camera over five years.

"This analysis is intended to educate government leaders, police executives, and procurement staff about the true total cost of implementing and operating a body camera program. The body camera hardware is just the start of the total cost of ownership," stated Utility CEO Robert McKeeman.

The total cost of ownership analysis was calculated based upon a 100-unit body camera deployment over a five-year period. Utility based the comparison of representative body camera devices on information collected in three overall cost categories: 

  • Deployment Costs - Camera and docking station hardware and software, network infrastructure enhancements, software seat licenses and training.
  • Direct Operating Costs - Operations support staff, video upload and storage, officer overtime to dock cameras, and retraining for changes in video recording policy and operating procedures.
  • Indirect Operating Costs - Police department video management support staff for video classification, redaction, security, and distribution; District Attorney; and other video consumer support staff.

A big hidden cost, according to the analysis, comes from video redaction. McKeeman cites a 2015 study from the U.S. Department of Justice that evaluated the impact of body-worn cameras. 

"[In the study,] officers only remembered to turn on manually operated body cameras 13% of the time the Phoenix Police policy said they should have," he stated."Police Departments should want body-worn cameras that also increase police officer safety, particularly when the 5-Year Total Cost of Ownership is less than half that of a simplistic manually operated, clip-on camera."

He goes on to note that the ability to redact video quickly and at a low cost helps with police transparency and accountability and protects the privacy of police officers and citizens.

Download the full analysis for free from Utility or learn more about BodyWorn here.

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