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Gunshot detection could add layer of security to body cameras

MIKE McGEE | 5/7/2019, 1:26 p.m.
At a time when the interactions between citizens of color and law enforcement officers are being assessed, debated and brainstormed ...
Left photo: The data recording system is tested with live ammunition by BodyWorn Chief Operating Officer Anthony Baldoni during a recent demonstration at Elm Fork Shooting Sports. Rigth Photo: Body camera recording system by BodyWorn has the ability to record police interactions without an officer being able to shut off or mute the footage.

Additionally, the A.I. also offers a two-minute prerecording of what occurred before the use of a weapon. Traditional prerecord has no audio and only goes back about 30 seconds.

“We have the ability to do what’s called conditional prerecord, meaning, because our technology is a sensing, thinking computing device, we know the type of activation of the body camera and then can prepend, as we call it, an audio as well as video period of time leading up to that activation,” the CRO commented.

There is a system refusal to prevent the deactivation or muting of the body camera, and the department can “seal” the camera and transmit footage for review in real time while the data is stored in a cloud-based system, only accessible by the chief and other authorized personnel.

Furthermore, the camera sends out audio and tone cues when it is properly slipped into place vertically, parallel to the wearer’s body. If the officer goes down and cannot call for assistance, the A.I. is aware that the camera is no longer vertical and sends a signal to dispatch and other nearby officers, continuing to record on its own.

“There are two things on the map here. One, you can tell there were … two shots that were fired,” Chief Technology Officer Simon Ayarana pointed out on a large electronic display of the shooting range during the live fire demonstration.

“At the bottom you can see that Chris is recording; the light is blinking out blue and red, so you have complete awareness of what’s happening out here,” he said of dispatchers or other officers who could stay informed of the situation through their in-car computer.

The detailed and immediate information may also provide more elements in regard to unexpected confrontations, such as the case involving former officer Amber Guyger, now charged with the murder of Botham Jean Shem. The shooting took place in September 2018 while Shem was in his apartment.

Guyger, off-duty but in uniform, claimed to have mistaken his apartment for her own, and that she shot the unarmed man, thinking he was an intruder.

The potential of such technology has piqued the interest of local law enforcement. During a recent public safety event held at City Hall, DPD Chief Renee Hall indicated that a similar system by another company would be added to the toolbox of the force within the year.

“Currently, we have a contract with our body-worn cameras with Axon,” she confirmed. “Axon has a design that when you pull the gun out of the holster, it automatically activates the body-worn camera. We do not have that under this contract. We will be going into procurement probably within the next six to eight months, and those will be part of the specs that we want.”

At the time of the demonstration, Lindenau did not directly indicate whether the system would be picked up by the Fort Worth or Dallas Area Rapid Transit police departments.

Thank you,

Robyn H. Jimenez

VP of Production & Editorial

The Dallas Examiner

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