PRINCETON — After almost a year of searching for funding, the Princeton Police Department received a $100,000 grant from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute for in-car cameras and body cameras.
With the grant money, the department was able to purchase 15 units from WatchGuard. Each unit provides three in-car cameras, including a front-view, panoramic-view and rear-view, and one body camera.
"Body cameras are everything in the police world now… if it didn't happen on camera, people just don't believe you anymore. So, we want to get as much real time as we can of everything we do," explained Princeton Police Chief Derek McGraw.
Old technology cut-and-split video had no real time. The new cameras from WatchGuard connect to a DVR that is placed in the police cars and connects to the Wi-Fi of the department building.
"With the previous technology, our guys would come in, take off their body camera off, plug it into the camera and have anywhere from one hour to four hours of downloading. With the new technology, as soon as they pull up in front of the police station, the Wi-Fi signal that is in the car grabs the Wi-Fi signal here and goes straight to our server for the download to start," McGraw said.
Princeton K-9 Officer, Jason Swan added, "The new technology allows us to get back on the road faster, too."
The cameras all work together in order to provide clear and accurate recordings of any incident.
"All four cameras talk to each other and simultaneously record. So, everything is timestamped and viewable a the same time. The best part is, when one camera is activated, all cameras activate since they all go together, and they are activated with another source like the lights in the car… so anytime they turn their emergency lights on, the cameras will come on," McGraw said.
Even when the body camera is off and not recording, footage can still be obtained through the server in a 20-hour window.
"Say there was an issue where the camera got turned off on accident, or an officer had to start chasing after someone and didn't get a chance to turn it on… We can go back and log it in our server and grab it within a 20-hour window," McGraw explained.
This new technology allows the officers to reach their goal of not missing anything, and to be able to give a jury every possible view they could want of an incident. According to McGraw, this technology will make the department 10 times better.
There are currently four police cars on the road with the new cameras installed. Within the next month, all 15 WatchGuard units should be installed and running.