Police departments are in the market to buy body cameras. As noted in a recent American City & County web item, “Pittsburgh’s Mayor Bill Peduto announced that the city will rearrange $650,000 in next year's budget to outfit the entire police bureau with body cameras, in anticipation that federal funding will match the local appropriation, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.”

Government Product News got the views of Bob McKeeman, CEO and chairman of Utility Associates, on trends in body-worn cameras used in law enforcement. Tucker, Ga.-based Utility Associates, Inc. is a privately owned company. For over 10 years, it’s been the firm’s goal to keep “mission critical” applications — utilities, transit and public safety — connected and in control. The company provides a unified operating platform for safely locating, tracking and supporting all aspects of mobile field operations. McKeeman’s photo is below, on the right.

BodyWorn from Utility is a voice-activated, fully secure officer-worn camera. The BodyWorn system is equipped with high-resolution video, internal GPS and real-time connectivity. The equipment immediately uploads video to the video storage unit or to cloud storage. In addition, video from the system can't be uploaded to YouTube or social media websites.

Here are Bob McKeeman’s views:

GPN: Do you see increased sales on the horizon in 2015?

Bob McKeeman: We are seeing increased interest from law enforcement agencies across the country for body-worn camera technology. The $75 million of federal funding put on the table by President Obama to help outfit the nation’s police officers with body-worn cameras will also encourage adoption in 2015.

Utility launched the Ultimate Witness BodyWorn Camera (photo below on left) in October 2014. BodyWorn is the industry's first voice-activated, fully secure body camera. It is equipped with high-resolution video, internal GPS and real-time connectivity — video is immediately uploaded and available to supervisors and Central Dispatch. Utility is offering this product through an established partnership with Dell. Under the partnership, Dell sells the Ultimate Witness BodyWorn Camera along with Utility’s cloud-based AVaiL Web mobile Internet of Things (IoT) software as a service and CORE digital multimedia and connectivity system. We expect the partnership with Dell and the continued push for body-worn camera technology to positively impact sales in 2015.

GPN: What law enforcement applications are drawing the most interest?

BM: Police departments want technology that standardizes and automates when body-worn video is recorded – minimizing the impact of human bias, increasing citizen and police accountability, and increasing the police officer’s personal safety. The next generation body-worn camera technology must integrate the cameras into the evidence eco-system. That is, body-worn cameras integrated with the vehicle wireless router and In-Car Video Camera system for automatic triggering of body-worn camera recording and real-time video upload to Central Dispatch.

GPN: Are governments increasing their budgets to buy more cameras?

BM: Many government agencies have announced plans to evaluate and deploy body-worn cameras in 2015 and beyond. While we don’t have specific knowledge about how government agencies plan to fund purchases, it is clear there is a lot more interest in body-worn cameras for 2015 and beyond.

GPN: Thank you, Bob McKeeman, for your views.

Hari Sreenivasan reports from New Jersey in this video on whether body cameras can lead to improvements in policing. The PBS NewsHour presents the video essay.

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