ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – The Orlando Police Department received upgraded body-worn cameras (BWC) following a $6.4 million investment, aiming to increase the layers of safety for both officers and the public.
OPD Chief Orlando Rolón and Officer Bradley Vilmer, OPD’s Technology Liaison, demonstrated the new Axon 3 cameras to the press, showing the new features like auto-activation and live streaming.
Chief Rolón explained that “with this new technology we can acquire new data, like how often are sidearms unholstered,” since the cameras automatically start recording as soon as an officer deploys his or her firearm or Taser, thanks to Bluetooth sensors on both weapons and the BWC. Cameras on nearby officers will also activate and start recording at the same time.
Also included is GPS tracking to map how many cameras are in the field at any given time.
All new BWC can live stream to the crime center at OPD HQ, accessed by limited department leadership. The technology to record the stream is not available yet, and officers must dock the cameras to send the recordings.
“As we deploy new technology and learning how it operates, we are advancing our use of that technology,” Officer Vilmer explained.
A total of 842 BWCs were issued on all sworn personnel, including Chief Rolón and executive and command staff. Community service officers will also receive them down the line.
Chief Rolón admits that wearing a BWC “takes some taking use to,” but he has not heard of any pushback from the new technology, and also understands that it makes him as accountable as any officer in the field.
“When you wear this uniform, you’re expected to respond and deal with whatever comes your way,” he explained. “Just as we hold our officers to a certain standard, we should hold ourselves to the same.”
Chief Rolón was also quick to inform that the new BWCs are not made to have officers think “that we are always watching.”
“[It’s easy] for someone who is watching to come with their interpretation or judgment on a situation, but when you are the one who is actually experiencing something, your field of view is much different than what this camera is actually capturing”, he said. “When the cameras rolled out, there was a 30-second buffer associated with them. We were one of the first departments to implement the one-minute buffer. There have been a number of incidents where at second 33 there was critical information that we were not able to get.”
Juan Carlo Rodriguez is a politics and entertainment reporter for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org.