BWC TTA Updates

Starting an EMS Body-Worn Camera Program

In conjunction with their vendor, Cypress Creek EMS (CCEMS), outside Houston, TX, initiated a trial BWC program that ran for 18 months between 2013 and 2015. The program was a success, and in 2019 CCEMS became the first EMS agency identified in the United States to require BWC use by its lead field providers on every unit. According to CCEMS Assistant Executive Director Wren Nealy, BWCs “improve clinical practice and the safety of our personnel” and have not resulted in any complaints from patients or the medical community. The London Ambulance Service began a BWC program in late 2018 to help keep its responders safe from violent patients, and New South Wales Ambulance in Australia began its program in late 2019.

The Camden County, New Jersey, Police Department began its body-worn camera (BWC) program in 2015 with a pilot program. Camden County received its first Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) BWC Policy and Implementation (PIP) grant in 2016 and a second BWC grant in 2017. The agency employs around 650 employees, including 450 sworn officers, and is responsible for providing preventive and reactive policing services for the residents of Camden City, which covers 8.9 square miles and serves a population of 78,000. Camden County instituted a variety of personnel positions, mechanisms, and safeguards to ensure the success and sustainability of the BWC implementation. In addition, Camden County conducted a thorough period of testing and evaluation of its technology upon implementation to ensure that the technology met its needs and was a system that the department could feasibly maintain. This evaluation came about after the initial BWC pilot implementation revealed several reliability issues related to system and device failures, which resulted in Camden County changing vendors.

Read the full commentary here.

On this episode of LE Tech Talks, Jessica Dockstader, the BWC TTA Outreach Coordinator, sat down with four of the BWC TTA Leads - Geoff Smith, Director of Public Safety in Sturgis, MI; Chief Richard McLaughlin (ret.); Eddie Reyes, Public Safety Communications Director of Prince William County; and Chief Mary O'Connor (ret.). 

Ms. Dockstader asked Director Smith, Chief McLaughlin, Director Reyes, and Chief O'Connor what they view as the main factor leading to success in BWC sites, what their top advice is for sites, and more. 

To listen to the podcast, click here.

Arizona State University (ASU), a BWC TTA project partner, conducted a survey asking BWC PIP sites about their experiences with the recent protests, the value that BWCs added, challenges and problems each agency experienced, and solutions their agency implemented to overcome those challenges and problems.

In Part I of two webinars on this topic, Dr. Michael White from ASU discussed the results from this survey, with a focus on larger agencies, and the impact BWCs have had. Joining him, we heard from Assistant Chief Jeffery Carroll, Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department on their experiences in their jurisdiction. Concluding the webinar, Dr. Ed. Maguire discussed the principles of effectively policing protests, while reviewing how BWCs can help agencies achieve those principles.

To view the webinar, click here.