APD Tries Out New Digital Cameras - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

APD Tries Out New Digital Cameras

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Austin police started testing out their now in-car digital cameras.

So far, only a dozen patrol cars have the updated technology.

Corporal Ryan Huling drives one of the cars and says the new cameras make "a remarkable difference."

Officers who work in East Austin are the first to test out the new digital system.

There are now two cameras inside -- one in the front and one in the back seat -- to keep an eye on the person in custody.

The new digital system also has more triggers that automatically turn on the cameras.

For example, the cameras kick on when the car gets up to 90 miles per hour, if the lights and siren are on and when officers open the driver side door.

"It takes the pressure off the officer for having to remember to hit record on something like a call for service or a traffic stop," Huling said.

Also new, a 30-second pre-roll. This means that even if the officer doesn't have the camera on, once activated, it rolls back and records the thirty seconds before.

"If you're sitting at a red light intersection for example, your light turns green as an officer, someone else comes blowing the red light through an intersection. As the officer, you go proceed to pull them over," Huling said. "Even though you weren't rolling at the time, it'll show the offender driving through the red light prior to you actually activating the recording. So, 30 seconds prior to every activation is recorded."

Police say officers log in and out of the system and never actually touch the evidence.

Detectives and prosecutors can watch without having to check out a VHS tape.

Once they download the video, those files are immediately availble.

All the video is stored at the Transportation, Emergency and Communications Center in East Austin. Such provisions increase transparency within the department.

"The officers using the VHS system right now, are recording everything that they do whether it's a call for service or a subject they know, it helps them more than it hurts them," Huling said.

This trial period allows officers to work out the kinks of the new digital system before rolling it out to the rest of the fleet.

 

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