Fort Worth smiles for wearable police cameras

Wed, 2014-04-02 06:00 -- Doug Cooley

Fort Worth will bump up its bet on smart public safety technology by purchasing 400 additional “on-officer” cameras for its police department, reports the Star-Telegram.

The Texas city already has 200 of the Taser Axon flex cameras in use to record interchanges between officers and community members – as well as other police activities. Videos recorded by the cameras are credited with improving the behavior of all parties during police interactions, reducing false complaints and lawsuits against law enforcement agencies, and reducing an officer’s administrative workload.

Moreover, uploaded video recordings can be accessed by detectives who can view them as evidence in criminal prosecutions, and by supervisors investigating administrative concerns or a citizen’s complaint about an officer. According to the Star-Telegram, Fort Worth officers have already recorded more than 26,000 videos.

Fort Worth officers mount the small cameras on their collar or glasses.  Police department policy calls for officers to activate their cameras in the following scenarios:

  • When collecting evidence for use in criminal prosecution
  • To record contacts with the public in which law enforcement action might be taken
  • During foot and vehicle pursuits
  • During consensual searches
  • When investigating calls involving mentally distressed persons
  • When documenting accident or crime scenes
  • By at least one officer during tactical entries, such as when a SWAT team storms a house

To learn about other smart technology solutions emerging for public safety uses, download the free Smart Cities Readiness Guide.