March 6, 2018

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Get to Know Your Body-Worn Camera

Gordon Graham
Category: Law Enforcement

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for law enforcement and it deals with getting to know your body-worn cameras.  

Always assume that the camera is on. Don’t say or do anything that you wouldn’t want the world to see.

Body-worn cameras can increase transparency in police-citizen encounters. They may deter some people from resisting arrest or committing a violent act. Body-worn cameras can also provide helpful evidence. 

If you are wearing a body camera you should familiarize yourself with how it works.  

Did you know that when you press record, many body-worn cameras record a buffer? This means that the camera automatically saves some length of video of what happened before you pressed the button. This can range from several seconds to several minutes. You should understand how long the buffer is on your camera. 

Some body-worn cameras include a stealth operation mode. In this mode, the camera does not make any audible sounds or emit any lights to signal that it is recording. This can result from the button being inadvertently pressed and a camera is switched on. We could accidentally shut off a body-worn camera’s sound, vibration alert, or indicator lights. The camera could record unnoticed. A potential risk is that the wearer may go their entire shift thinking that the camera is off or malfunctioning. The wearer may say some things that were not intended to be shared. 

The solutions are simple. Always assume that the camera is on. Don’t say or do anything that you wouldn’t want the world to see. Know your equipment. Know whether it can go into stealth mode. Don’t ever assume your camera is broken just because it won’t light up. 

And that is Today’s Tip from Lexipol. 

Gordon Graham, signing off. 

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