Not many smiles on this version of 'candid camera'
East Carbon Police can now take the proof and transparency that comes with video and audio recording wherever they go. For more than a month, the small department has been using body mounted, first person point-of-view cameras which allow for total recall following even the most intense of scenarios.
"Anything I can see, it can see," said Officer Shawn Sackett. "Our dash cams are stationary. This goes with me, it sees what I see and it hears what I hear. In fact, even if I'm driving, it's been beneficial for things that fall outside of the vehicle camera's point-of-view."
The Taser Axon Flex cameras being used by the East Carbon department were obtained by Chief Sam Leonard via a law enforcement grant. According to Officer Sackett, the cameras can mount on an officer's eye-wear, head gear, shoulder or chest. Because police already carry lots of equipment, the cameras are made as light and small as possible while maintaining a big enough profile to be noticed.
According to the Taser website, the "AXON Flex is a breakthrough point-of-view video system that improves transparency between law enforcement agencies and their communities, while protecting officers from false claims."
The site also insists the presence of video and audio in a law enforcement situation improves the behavior of all parties involved.
"What's nice is that after an incident we can be more accurate when writing our reports," said Capt. Phillip Holt. "We haven't used them in court that much yet, but I can tell you they are going to be very beneficial in that realm as well."
The camera itself serves to house the digital files recorded during an officer's shift, that material is then downloaded and the camera is ready for use once again.
"They can record for a full 12 hour shift and when you get off, you simply plug it in," said Sackett. "They have become a big part of what we do. Many times you don't know what you're going to find when you enter a home."