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“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.

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  1. The more cameras cops have, the better, I think. It helps protect LEOs from lies like “hands up don’t shoot,” and helps protect innocent people from bad cops. Win win in my book.

    • Agreed. If a shooting is truly justified, then you have absolutely nothing to fear from video evidence documenting the incident.

      • Recently saw a case were a robbery suspect was put on trial and identified by witnesses and a slam dunk investigation. As a footnote the prosecution also showed some footage from a nearby camera that captured much of the incident, but was too grainy to make out the suspect’s face.

        The jury returned not guilty and, when asked, stated that they did so because the “video was too blurry.” They ignored a mountain of evidence because they saw a video and decided that it wasn’t clear enough.

        Incomplete or poorly shot footage is sometimes worse than nothing.

  2. If a department can’t afford long term storage, why not use 256GB or 128GB SD cards in tamper-proof or evident seals and overwrite? At 8GB/hour for compressed 720, thats close to 3 12 hour shifts. Compressed 480/DVD is 2.8/hour, which is a ton of time and even uncompressed is only 13/hour, which would cover 2 shifts. It wouldn’t help with complaints that come in a week later, but for shootings and other high-visibility issues would be sufficient.

    • Flight data and cockpit voice recorders are ‘looped’ and are perpetually re-overwritten.

      NAND storage is ridiculously cheap nowadays. If the camera only starts recording when drawn, data retention isn’t going to be a problem.

      Body cams are whole ‘nother kettle-o-fish in terms of bulk data storage….

      • Can somebody tell me “why?” Why shouldn’t body cams be endless looped, overwrite something like 24 duty hours? Where does this silly concept of huge data storage come from, are we saying the recording has to be retained for a hundred years, or something? If an officer’s shift ends without incident, I see no reason to keep the recording until tomorrow, much less to next century. Data storage problems just went to zero.

        • All sort of government data protection laws think otherwise. Plus people sometimes complain later on, and their complaints must still be investigated. If you’re going to investigate the incident at a later date, you can’t delete the footage that could inculpate of exonerate the investigated party (the officer).

        • Complaints. It isn’t just about shooting / uses of force. I got a racial discrimination complaint for supervising a scene where a man stole a car and his girlfriend came to the incident and tried to obstruct our investigation. We arrested them both, but I cited and released the female because she had her kids with her. There were three separate audio / video discs of the incident.

          The complainant was invited in to indicate where, on any disc, any of the officers said or did anything racist. Well, she failed to show on three separate occasions. Thankfully the complaint got classified as frivolous.

          There are certainly dirty cops that need to be protected, as well as clean cops that need to be exonerated. Good video evidence is an important part of that equation.

          I look forward to HD video cams that can be mounted on lapels or glasses. Glass / sunglasses mount are ideal to truly see from an officer’s perspective. Body cams shake like crazy from running or the slightest scuffle. Plus glasses can easily be removed in the office or during restroom breaks.

        • “Can somebody tell me “why?” Why shouldn’t body cams be endless looped, overwrite something like 24 duty hours?”

          The complaint may not be lodged for days, weeks, etc. after it allegedly took place.

          And as mentioned above, that would potentially be a ‘destruction of public records’ issue…

  3. There need to be laws in place regarding management (security and destruction) of this and all other police video. For privacy reasons, video should be exempt from public records laws unless a complaint is filed. It should also be destroyed after a set time (say 3 months) unless a complaint is filed or investigation initiated, then it becomes evidence and should be treated as such.

    • “video should be exempt from public records laws unless a complaint is filed.”

      Right now it is largely exempt from pubic records laws to the point that it is not even recorded in the first place. Why would there be any problem which continues to *prevent* it from being recorded? Police unions are going to fight it tooth and nail if it is retained, since it suddenly becomes a threat to the midmorning donut stop, or the quickie with the cop groupie. What we WANT is evidence on whether a shooting is justified, not workplace actions. Erasure at the beginning of every shift makes sense, not sure the end of every shift does not. When I got my license in 1977, a cockpit voice recorder only held a 30 minute loop, and was erased by the crew as soon as the parking brake was set. Every time, part of the checklist. That may have changed (I dunno-it has been 40 years!) but the crew doesn’t mind the devices at all, they will generally help to find out exactly why the crew died, and nothing else.

      • ” but the crew doesn’t mind the devices at all, they will generally help to find out exactly why the crew died, and nothing else.”

        Not initially, that’s for sure!

        The pilot unions screamed bloody murder about it at first, claiming the flight crew would be intimidated by the active recording.

        And, maybe, the unions had a point.

        But then along came flight 1141, a ‘teachable moment’ in commercial aviation cockpit resource management:

        “Minutes before Delta Flight 1141’s doomed takeoff last August, unwitting crew members joked about the dating habits of flight attendants and the importance of leaving a juicy message on the cockpit recorder in case the plane did crash.”

  4. On the civilian market…I don’t see it having any more negative implications than your own personal CCTV footage.

  5. People won’t be happy until police are outfitted like google cars. Every year is a new piece of crap on the belt or the shirt that creates more red-tape and takes away from actual work. Yes, every item takes time, every day. Those ten minutes spent fiddling with technology from the lowest bidder add up over the whole shift.

    Oh well, I shouldn’t care. Nobody’s gonna shoot me while I’m in the station clipping on multiple cameras and mics or uploading them at the end of the day (meanwhile the cars don’t even have working computers half the time… and then there’s the lack of working cars itself! Yeah I’m sure the cameras will be problem-free).

    But while I don’t care if you put a camera on my head or chest, yeah, I got a problem putting one on my gun. F that. It doesn’t see what my eyes see. It doesn’t see what caused me to draw. And it’s putting a useless freakin piece of weight and space on an object which I need to use to save my life.

    • I work mids and have a light on my weapon. If this is replacing my light and doesn’t have one as bright installed with it, the benefit factor turns negative.

  6. Based on the description of this camera it would have to make use of cellular technology to be able to upload when the pistol is drawn. How much EMF cell phone radiation will it emit when in use? Will it emit EMF cell phone radiation when not in use? What will stop a cop from manually removing this camera to prevent being recorded? Another problem may be that certain existing holsters will be incompatible necessitating increased costs to replace holsters. If a cop has a body camera that transmits wirelessly in addition to this camera they would be exposed to higher levels of EMF cell phone radiation. Cell phones have been labeled a carcinogenic hazard by the world health organization according to the article at the following link

    Based on that fact I dislike exposing police officers and their associates to unnecessary risks with little to show for it.

  7. Cloud storage for bodycams is already big business. A good friend of mine has sold a multi peta-byte solution to a major municipal PD.

    Re this device in particular. Anything that increases accountability and transparency is good. But this device specifically is too big. For it to work it has to be the size of a Streamlight TLR 1 and should ideally include a light also.

    As is, it could adversely affect the handling of the firearm.

  8. I saw one of these at shot show that included a light. It was from some other company. They were working on one that would include a laser as well. They had a civilian version as well that cost less and had a less powerful light. That’s all I remember.

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