Originally posted on myfoxzone.com | Oct 27, 2015
Tensions between police and civilians have led many police departments across the nation to implement body cameras in order to record interactions between police and the community they’re sworn to protect and serve.
But the views of the body cams can become obstructed in important and tense moments, leading some to push for cameras attached to police firearms.
Fox News Correspondent Rick Leventhal has the story.
Ninety percent of local police departments in America now use some kind of video technology, recording everything from traffic stops to foot pursuits from the dashboard of patrol vehicles or the chests of officers on the street.
But sometimes, action happens outside the frame or the view is blocked by arms or objects. And undercover cops can’t wear body cams.
Now there’s another option called the “Centinel” – a camera mounted on the barrel of a handgun, activated when it’s pulled from the holster, providing a clear look at the critical area where the weapon is being pointed.
“If I had a body-worn camera at this point in time, the view would be obstructed with the hands and my weapon out. So you get the first-person point of view as the officer sees it, as the incident unfolds,” said Kirt Rothe, of Centinel Solutions.
So, it’s capturing whatever you are pointing that weapon at?
The Centinel records audio and video and can stream footage in real-time back to headquarters, so supervisors can watch the scene unfold. It also sends a GPS ping to dispatch, so fellow cops can quickly respond to a precise location.
“It will give the agencies as much information as they could possibly have without physically being there themselves,” said Rothe.
Critics point out that the Centinel does not record anything before the weapon is drawn. The company says it’s best deployed in conjunction with other camera systems.
Kirk Imperati is second-in-command at New York’s Dutchess County Sheriff’s Department. He’s seen the Centinel and says he’s impressed.
“Essentially, you’re able to see through the deputy’s eyes what he or she is actually seeing, what they are encountering and why they are actually going to use force,” said Imperati. “That’s what [is] great about that product. There’s no obstructed view and you are seeing what that deputy is seeing.”
The company hopes to equip police departments across America starting January 1.