Originally posted on Fox25Boston.com | March 22, 2017
BOSTON – As the City of Boston agrees to extend its police body camera pilot program for six more months, critics are taking aim at a new device hitting the streets soon.
The gun shield camera is mounted on a police officer’s weapon, instead of their body. It is designed to show where an officer’s gun is pointing.
Creator Max Kramer believes his device will allow more transparency at a lower cost for police departments. “It’s another tool that’s unbiased and holds people accountable,” said Kramer.
How it works
The camera activates every time the gun is pulled from the holster. The camera is wifi and Bluetooth connected, and sends its location to commanders and nearby officers, alerting them of the situation. Kramer says the gun camera will sell for about the same price as the body cameras, but with much less costs to store the video, since there’s less recorded.
Local groups react
FOX25 showed the device to Boston Police Camera Action Team organizer Segun Idowu. His group has been pushing to fully implement body cameras in Boston.
He said the feature notifying officers the moment a gun is drawn is helpful, but the technology has some concerns.
“We don’t want our first introduction to the incident to be when the officer has fired his gun. We want to know what led up to that situation,” said Idowu.
That’s one point where the Camera Action Team and the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association actually agree.
B.P.P.A. president Patrick Rose told FOX25, “That context would be key to understanding the officer’s reason and justification in removing their weapon.”
“99.9% of situations where people want a body worn camera for ‘accountability’ has absolutely nothing to do with an officer firing their weapon. Therefore; a weapon mounted camera would be useless.”
Kramer countered, that the shield camera shows the perspective that is typically blocked on body cameras, and said it is also less likely to fall off in a struggle.
Idowu said that would make the device a good addition to a body camera, but not a replacement.
The Gun Shield Camera has been in development by Centinel Solutions for more than three years, mainly due to revisions requested by skeptical officers. It is being tested in several undisclosed departments across the country right now, with hopes that it will hit the streets soon.