By a unanimous vote at its September 7 meeting, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners approved a program to equip Fulton County Police with body-worn and in-car cameras. The Board voted in support of contracting with Utility Associates, Inc. to purchase the devices some law enforcement experts credit with enhancing transparency and public trust, promoting accountability, and improving community and officer safety.
“The dash cameras and body cams will be a beneficial tool to protect our police force on the front lines and respond to any citizen’s questions about an officer’s actions,” said Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chairman John Eaves. “We will establish policies and procedures for using the technology but in the end, it will enhance the accountability of our already top-notch police department.”
“I am very pleased that the BOC approved the purchase of in car and body cameras from Utility,” said Fulton County Police Chief Gary Stiles. “This product and company offers the equipment, storage, and support that best fits my department’s needs.”
The body-worn and in-car camera system enables video and audio recording from the perspective of the officer involved in interactions with civilians. The body camera system is designed to archive, manage, and quickly retrieve video data that meets or exceeds federal, state, and local standards. The county will acquire approximately 170 body/in-car cameras.
Among the features of the new devices are:
• Vehicle sensor - activates the body camera when the light bar is activated; officers also have manual activation capabilities
• Officer down activation – the camera automatically starts recording if an officer is down, which alerts 911 dispatchers
• Wi-Fi – the system turns each vehicle into a Wi-Fi “hotspot”
• Immediate wireless uploading – precludes officers having to use docking stations to upload at the end of their shift
• Mounting system built into the officer’s uniform - decreases the likelihood of the camera becoming dislodged
• Redaction capability - protects the privacy and identity of victims, innocent bystanders, and minors
In the past, body-worn cameras have also served as a valuable tool assisting police in their investigations.