New line of police body cams tout latest, greatest in transparency

Posted at 6:44 PM, Oct 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-17 18:44:06-04

BYRON CENTER, Mich. – When it comes to law enforcement, body cameras tell the stories we don’t get to see during the daily shift of an officer.

With an influx of officer-involved incidents grabbing national headlines recently, cries for better technology have increased – from civilians, from lawmakers and from police departments themselves.

One West Michigan company is leading the charge for departments to provide transparency through body camera technology. Pro Vision Video Systems in Byron Center has launched its new model, the BC-300 body camera, touting it as the latest and greatest in wearable tech for officers.

The camera was designed specifically for law enforcement use, but members of police forces played a big part in its scheme.

“We’ve taken in a lot of information from our customers of what they need and what they want in the field,” said Steve Wagasky, Law Enforcement Group Sales Manager with Pro Vision. “Most departments are looking at this type of technology and saying, ‘we want to increase our safety of our officers; we want to improve the transparency to our citizens.’ And that’s where body cams come into play.”

Pro Vision tailored the BC-300 towards members of law enforcement, adding some simplistic features that are game-changing when it comes to reliable capturing and storage of video. Starting with the inside, the BC-300 features a battery life of 12 hours, plenty of time to last through a typical shift.

The model also features 1269p high definition video, built in lighting systems, and a pre- and post-record function that when set, automatically captures the 60 seconds before and after the camera is manually turned on or off.

“That helps with ensuring that human error is not a major issue from that standpoint,” said Wagasky. “When an officer says ‘I forgot to turn it on,’ even if you were delayed 60 seconds, you’re going to have your interaction with Joe Q. Public…”

Once the video is captured, it can be uploaded into a cloud-like storage system capable of tracking the video’s digital footprint, allowing anyone who watches the video to see where it’s been and who else has been watching it.

“It’s really to increase transparency,” said Wagasky, speaking to the benefits to both those in front of and behind the cameras. “A lot of officers feel like, hey I need this to protect myself out in the field. But the days of necessarily being able to go back and say, ‘hey, an officer said I did this, I’m going to believe the officer…’ there is a bit of change from that.”

Body cameras are not mandated nationwide, however several states, including South Carolina, have instituted legislation that eventually will mandate them.

For many departments, cost is an issue. Pro Vision has made it a sticking point to work with those departments to ensure all law enforcement personnel have the vital technology.

For more information about Pro Vision Video Systems, visit their website.