ALLEN (CBS11) – The Allen Police Department only had to look a few blocks away to find the supplier of its new body camera system, but the local connection wasn’t the real reason they made their decision.
It’s a big improvement over the single-camera perspective we’ve often seen released in high-profile cases of controversial police incidents.
Allen Police said the integrated system that synchronizes in-car video with body-camera footage is one of the main reasons they chose Allen-based Watchguard Video over its competitors.
“You’ve seen video of a scenario occurring, and suddenly there’s an action by a police officer, or there’s an action by somebody he’s engaged with, and you really can’t tell what caused that action, whether it’s body movement or something else,” Watchguard Senior Vice President Mike Burridge said.
The other critical advantage his company offers is synchronized audio, which Burridge said can be just as important as what the video shows. Other systems that lack good audio have sometimes led to confusion.
“You don’t know if the person threatened the officer, or if the officer may have said, I’m going to place you into custody, and the person decided, no you’re not, I’m going to fight back, and you never hear that. Suddenly you see a physical altercation,” Burridge said.
Allen Police tell us their new system will also be able to upload video faster than others giving officers almost immediate access to the footage. Watchguard’s success has led the company to start construction on a new Allen Police headquarters that will be able to nearly double it’s workforce as the demand for body camera systems continues to grow.
“There’s plenty of video out there today that shows that officers are not acting properly, but the agency’s ability to show that and react to it properly builds trust in that community and also helps to build transparency,” Burridge said.
Allen Police expect to have their new system in place by this fall.