Pennsylvania Capitol Police Superintendent Joe Jacob today announced the police force has recently upgraded its patrol vehicles with in-car camera technology that will provide an audio and video recorded account of all officer traffic stops and other interactions with the public involving patrol vehicles.
“The in-car camera is a very valuable tool in helping the Pennsylvania Capitol Police reassure the public that when they come into contact with our officers there will be an audio and video recording of that exchange to ensure that the rights of each party are preserved and respected,” Jacob said.
“We strive to provide high-quality, consistent service to the public, and these in-car cameras will provide an accurate, transparent record of our interactions with those whom we are sworn to protect and serve.”
The system installed in the Pennsylvania Capitol Police vehicles features: two cameras – one front-facing windshield camera and one camera that records the rear seating area of the patrol vehicle; a DVR unit; a heavy duty laptop; and wireless microphone which can also be used to activate the recording system from outside the vehicle.
(The Panasonic Arbitrator 360° HD in-car digital video recording system is the industry’s most advanced HD mobile video evidence capture and management solution. Recording in 1080p Full HD resolution and delivering the industry’s highest quality video, the Arbitrator 360° HD provides emergency responders with unmatched image clarity for critical evidence capture. Courtesy of Panasonic and YouTube)
In addition, the system provides excellent video and sound quality in low-light situations.
“We plan on using the videos in a number of ways – ranging from evidence in traffic stops and other traffic violations such as DUI, to responding to possible complaints and training purposes,” Jacob said.
“In addition, the in-car units enable us to monitor the behavior of our officers behind the wheel to ensure they are implementing safe driving practices.”
(See in Action as Panasonic’s Stacy Austin provides an in-depth look at the Arbitrator 360°™ HD rugged mobile digital video evidence capture and recording system. Courtesy of Panasonic and YouTube)
The in-car camera units will record video and audio once triggered in the following ways:
Activation of emergency lights
Abrupt braking or impact
Detection of a high rate of speed, or
Manually inside the vehicle or from the wireless microphone unit
Most of the Pennsylvania Capitol Police Officers have completed the training for the unit which included classroom and hands-on operation of the unit.
A key procedure to note is that officers will advise individuals of the recording that is taking place at the beginning of each traffic stop and as the situation allows in other interactions.
“This technology is a welcome addition in our efforts to identify opportunities where we can improve upon the services we provide and the platform can be expanded to other surveillance technology if we choose to do so in the future,” Jacob said.
Superintendent Jacob noted the many improvements that have taken place in the agency including:
The opening of a substation at 333 Market Street in Harrisburg
The reaccreditation of the force through the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission and the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies
The carrying of the life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug, Naloxone by officers
The expansion of the K-9 unit to a total of 4 explosive detection k-9s, and
One patrol/narcotics K-9 and the nearly $8 million Capitol Complex Security upgrade project.
The Pennsylvania Capitol Police is an accredited law enforcement agency with full arrest powers that investigates all reported crimes within its jurisdiction of state-owned properties and buildings in Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Scranton.
The force maintains a 24 hours a day/7 days a week presence in Harrisburg where they also provide assistance to the city of Harrisburg Police Department and other surrounding local law enforcement agencies.