“Our tamper-proof suite of devices ensures that all officer-involved shootings are accurately recorded and secured,” Centinel Solutions’ website proclaims. As seen in the news report above, the Shield Police Gun Camera fits on a semi’s snout, activating and uploading when an officer draws his weapon. Which begs the question . . .
What happened BEFORE the officer cleared leather/kydex? Which is, of course, the critical piece of information that the public wants — often demands — to know. Hence the post-Ferguson profusion of dash and body cams. Centinel CEO Max Kramer says his Shield gun cams would augment pre-use-of-force recording systems, rather than replace them.
“Is a gun cam better than a body cam?” Kramer asked TTAG, somewhat rhetorically. “They provide different but complementary video, and the more complete and thorough an investigation you can have of a use of force incident the better.”
Centinel’s research indicates that some two-thirds of law enforcement agencies are still without body cameras. “The Shield Camera is better than no camera at all,” Kramer insists.
Kramer was a bit cagey about the cost of a Shield Camera. He said his brainchild will be price-competitive with police body cameras, which run about $500 – $800 per unit. That said, the Shield costs a whole lot less to run; body cameras require a great deal of expensive data storage.
Kramer tells TTAG that The Shield gun camera offers other advantages.
“A Shield Camera is more appropriate for plainclothes cops than a body cam,” Kramer says. The system also alerts home base when a gun is drawn; a useful backup notification if a cop doesn’t have time to immediately radio-in his situation and position. The gun cam stands proud of the firearm, enabling otherwise risky contact shots. And it aids force-on-force training.
So what about civilian sales?
While the lead-up to a DGU is just as important for a non-LEO, the average armed American’s not going to wear a body cam during his or her waking hours. A video record of the gun part of a DGU — especially if the defender shouted a verbal warning — could help the owner in court.
Then again, it could hurt the gun cam owner in court. Would the camera’s owner own the rights to the video? If they wiped the data, that wouldn’t look good in court. At all. Kramer says Centinel isn’t aimed at the civilian market; he hasn’t considered any of the ramifications.
A solution in search of a problem, a perfect stop-gap measure before body cams or a complementary recording system for body cam cops?
One thing’s for sure: the Shield Police Gun Camera makes for great force-on-force training replay. I’d buy that for a dollar.