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Next-generation cameras for police cars

Harford County tests technology with demo vehicle
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Posted at 4:08 PM, Apr 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-19 18:35:19-04

BEL AIR, Md. — Whether it’s the cameras mounted inside the vehicle or the ones mounted on their chests, most police officers welcome the recording devices, and Harford County sheriff’s deputies are no different.

“It just documents the incident in real time, and it allows everybody to see exactly what happened that day,” said Sr. Deputy Will Adams.

Now, in addition to the 200 people wearing body cameras, a fleet of 200 sheriff’s office vehicles may soon be outfitted with new camera systems like the one inside an SUV on loan from the ‘Axon’ company as the agency tests their effectiveness.

Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler insisted it carry the official logo of his office.

“We had the stickers, the magnetic stickers, specifically made for this project,” said Gahler. “If you see a vehicle going down the road with just ‘Axon’ and suddenly the lights come on, citizens might be confused what this vehicle is. Is it truly an emergency vehicle? We wanted no confusion here.”

Harford County has already been using cameras in its vehicles for some six years, but unlike the current cameras, the new ones would better sync up with the deputies’ body cameras.

Footage from the cameras also could be stored in the Cloud instead of on department servers saving money in the process, and the new system doesn’t require a deputy to activate it in the heat of the moment.

“We hit the lights and immediately… Did you notice?” demonstrated Adams. “Simultaneously, those cameras came on so it’s not activated by me. It’s started by me starting enforcement action.”

It’s new technology for a new age, which takes the recall out of emergency calls or traffic stops, replacing it with audio and video in real time.