If you join a police department that doesn't have an
in-car video system, don't install one yourself. The
pioneering of this system is past, and any type of
surveillance system utilized by you, on your own
initiative, could be in violation of state laws as well
as your department's administrative procedures.
If you join a police department where an in-car
video system has been adopted and installed by
your department, your responsibilities regarding its
maintenance and usage will be spelled out in a
written procedure. Make certain you're throughly
familiar with your department's procedure, and
never deviate from the procedure.
Your video system could be activated in a number
of ways. Your overhead lights, siren, or a portable
microphone you wear could activate the system, or
you could activate the system manually. Let's say
your department requires you to activate the
system every time you make a vehicle stop. If
that's what the procedure requires, then that's
exactly what you must do. On the other hand, you
could have a system that is active during your
entire shift --digital technology has made just about
During the development of these systems, it was
soon realized how rough the police car environment
could be for sensitive electronic equipment.
However, it's been around long enough now for
most of these systems to be hardened for the
task. The biggest continuing drawback remains to
be most police departments' understanding of
continuously emerging new technology.
While police leadership understands that even a
brand new police car requires maintenance, that
same understanding seems to drift over their heads
when it comes to technology. Many hi-tech
systems, like in-car video, are purchased with
federal grant money. While it's clear that future
maintenance and upgrades become a department's
responsibility, few departments think that far
ahead. Hopefully, you'll join a police department
that has its in-car video system well integrated into
the department's budget to ensure the system's
future technical support needs.
While the positive aspects of in-car video are
obvious, some police officers will continue to display
their poor judgement for the whole world to
see...just don't be one of them.
Back in the 1980's, someone got the idea of putting
a video camera inside a police car to record --
primarily -- vehicle stops. The advantage of such
recording was immediately recognized when it came
to the arrests of drunk drivers. Another advantage
was being able to disprove allegations of
misconduct made against police officers.
"Hopefully, you'll join a police department that
has its in-car video system well integrated into
the department's budget to ensure the
system's future technical support needs."
~ Barry M. Baker
|Copyright © 2019 Barry M. Baker