DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department has a new tool for keeping deputies safe on the road.

The department has outfitted 90 of its traffic division patrol cars with a system that digitally streams live dash cam video.

Sergeant Mike Laughlin says, it’s not to look in on deputies as they’re on the road during routine patrol – only four supervisors can access the system – rather, it will only be used as a live stream in the most extreme incidents.

“Say we lose contact with one of our deputies. He’s not answering the radio for a long period of time. We’d be able to look in real time and see what the situation is. Is he in trouble, or has he been injured,” Sgt. Laughlin says.

Laughlin says the DCSD began researching options for upgrading its old VHS camera system, a couple of years ago.

“We had a high failure rate on the video tapes. A tape is evidence of an offense or incident that happened,” Laughlin said.

The VHS system in place for the last decade wasn’t as efficient, Laughlin says of the old process on retrieving tapes for evidence.

“It involved going into a room with a box of video tapes and going through them. Finding the video and putting it in a VCR and looking through eight hours of tape until we found what we were looking for,” he said.

With the new system, different actions in the patrol car trigger the device to start recording audio and video: flashing lights, speeds above 85 mph, opening of the rear door.

“I don’t know of anything more advanced than this. This is state of the art,” Laughlin said.

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