Body cameras are becoming as common as other vital pieces of equipment for law enforcement officers. They are small, lightweight and capable of recording for extended periods of time. Be it interactions with the general public or those who find themselves on the wrong side of the law, the cameras have become a valuable tool. Body cameras are becoming more popular, and that trend is only going to continue growing.
In December of 2014, President Obama “proposed reimbursing communities half the cost of buying cameras and storing video, a plan that would require Congress to authorize $75 million over three years to help purchase 50,000 recording devices.” This is a huge push to get more cameras on the streets.
Camera technology has evolved dramatically over the past few years. Some have internal memory, and some transmit the video to a remote storage unit. Regardless of their designs, they have proven to be effective tools in law enforcement circles.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 currently available.
Fire Cam OnCall
Fire Cam’s OnCall is a camera designed for both law enforcement and firefighters. One of the features most important when developing the OnCall body-worn camera was battery life, which is why the device includes a detachable battery for quick and easy replacement. Each battery can last over eight hours. The OnCall body camera has a built in 32GB memory so that every police encounter is accounted for. The camera also has a wide-angle lens plus infrared technology for recording at night, and up to a three-minute pre-event record, which can capture footage prior to activating the record button on the camera. It comes with management software and offered with optional Live Video Streaming. (firecam.com; 618-416-8390)
The BodyVision camera from L-3 is designed as a complete system of evidence management. It’s more than just a body camera. Officers need to be able to easily and quickly download video, retrieve data, manage and track devices, search by case and maintain a chain of custody. The BodyVision system, designed to work with L3’s Digital Evidence Series (DES) software, allows agencies to do all of it. The camera boasts snapshot options, four hours of HD recording with quick downloads via a docking station. It is a complete system. (mobile-vision.com; 800-336-8475)
Safety Vision Prima Facie
The Prima Facie body camera by Safety Vision focuses as much on securing evidence as it does on video quality. Recorded data can only be downloaded to an authorized computer, helping law enforcement maintain a secure chain of evidence, and full HD video resolution provides for clear imaging. It features a 2-inch color LCD screen and speaker, allowing users to instantly recall recorded audio, video and still pictures. Software is included and an 8-bay docking station is available. (safetyvision.com;
The Pro-Vision BodyCam is a lightweight camera that provides a variety of features, including 1080p true HD video quality, night vision, a 170-degree field of view, one-touch recording and more. Important to most agencies, the cameras are priced at 50-percent less than many competing brands. The BodyCam is also a great camera because of its rugged design, ease of use and exceptional 32GB capacity. (bodycameras.com; 800-576-1126)
Smith & Wesson Law Camera Micro
One of the most well-known names in law enforcement circles is Smith & Wesson. So it is no surprise that it has entered another corner of the market with a body camera. Distributed by Campco, the Smith & Wesson camera series comes in two different varieties. The Micro camera provides a 640×480 resolution at 30 fps. It includes a 4GB Micro SD card and runs for one hour continuously on a full charge. It also features a back-clip for easy operation during investigations. It has an MSRP of $160. Useful in any situation, this important little device gives you justice in the palm of your hand. (smithandwesson.campco.com; 888-922-6726)
The RS2-X2 camera from Reveal is unique to the body camera world due to its articulated head. Following the premise that one size does not fit all, the camera can be adjusted to fit the officer wearing it. The RS2-X2 also offers the flexibility of being a body camera, a car camera or even a standalone unit for interviews, making it a true workhorse in this realm.
TASER’s Axon cameras are used in major city deployments. Axon Flex is a point-of-view camera that shows an officer’s perspective. Axon Body is a simple, single-unit camera with a wide-angle lens. They share advanced features like a pre-event buffer, “dock and walk” integration with our digital evidence management system, and retina lowlight technology. (taser.com; 800-978-2737)
The VIEVU LE3 is deployed by more then 4,000 agencies in 17 countries. Rugged, waterproof and easy to use, the camera clips onto a uniform to record both the actions of the wearer and those in its field of view. LE3 features include HD video resolution, 16GB internal memory and up to 12 hours of recording time. The LE3 camera is powered by VIEVU’s VERIPATROL software system. Video evidence is securely stored and catalogued with an FIPS 140-2 compliant digital signature process to verify the video has not been altered. Additionally, if the camera is lost or stolen, VIEVU’s VidLock security software will prevent unauthorized access to video evidence. (vievu.com; 888-285-4548)
WatchGuard builds the Vista HD body camera here in the U.S. Constructed with cast magnesium, polyurethane rubber and a military-grade polyetherimide resin, the Vista is one of the most durable cameras on the market. The camera has a fultra-rugged, weatherproof design, nine hours of continuous, high-resolution recording, and simple transfer/charging operations. Add to this a 130-degree-wide field of view and an adjustable lens and the Vista quickly becomes a good camera for any agency. (800-605-6734; watchguardvideo.com)
Wolfcom 3rd Eye
Wolfcom’s 3rd Eye body camera is a multi-functional, multi-purpose law enforcement device that has a wide array of uses. The unit can be used as a standalone video recorder, as an in-car video system or attached to a police radio to use as both a body camera and speaker microphone with a PTT function. Police officers can use the body camera to record 1080p quality video, photograph crime scenes, record audio statements, peek around corners and, using the GPS, tag locations of tossed objects during a pursuit. (wolfcomusa.com; 323-962-1061)