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Bal Harbour testing police shoulder cams

The cameras can record everything an officer sees, protecting them from false claims of wrongdoing and preserving evidence.

By Rodolfo Roman
Special to The Miami Herald

Bal Harbour police will be adding another weapon to combat crime: a video camera.

Officers are testing out the new Taser Axon Personal Camera System.

Capitan Leo Quinn said the technology would benefit the community.

“We are constantly looking for new ways to improve on our service and interaction with the community and this seemed like something that could work well,” Quinn wrote in an e-mail.

The cameras, provided by Taser Corp. on a free trial basis, record video of officers’ every move.

The internal digital storage is 16 GB of flash memory which provides approximately 28 hours of event video depending on conditions.

Although worn on officer’s shoulder, the village’s men and women in uniform are constantly adjusting and moving the cameras to find the best position, said Quinn.

Currently, the department is testing and evaluating three cameras.

The equipment is being used on day and midnight shift and by a sergeant.

“By protecting the truth, AXON technology, can save an officer’s career against false complaints, excessive force claims, and civil rights violations in which an officer can go to prison,” Taser spokesman Steve Tuttle wrote in an e-mail. “It simply gets rid of the he said/she said issue and replaces it with objectivity and facts.”

The system is a tactical networkable computer combining advanced audio-video record/capture capabilities.

The device also records Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates as part of proof. Officers can turn the cameras on and off.

It records events at 30 frames per second and has a 12-hour rechargeable battery with a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) screen.

Playback and analysis of an incident could be viewed on a 4.3-inch color touch-screen.

The cameras will showcase officers’ work, said Quinn.

“We feel it will benefit officers and citizens by showing that our department has nothing to hide and that we are a professional organization in the way we perform our duties,” he wrote.

There are more than 10 police departments trying out the cameras throughout the country.

The trial began earlier this month. The department has 30 days to try out the cameras and possibly decide on purchasing the devices. Each camera costs $4,000.

To purchase the cameras, the police department could use drug forfeiture funds, wrote Quinn.

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