LAPD begins using next-gen dash cam, BWC with wireless video upload
The new camera system pair directly with officers' Axon BWCs allowing officers to sync directly with their dashcam audio
By Hunter Lee
The Whittier Daily News, Calif.
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Police Department expects to see a major improvement in the way it processes dash-cam and body-worn camera footage with a new cloud management system and upgraded in-car cameras that allow for footage to be uploaded to a secure server from the field.
Chief Michel Moore was joined by fellow officers outside the LAPD Headquarters in Los Angeles on Thursday, May 4, to unveil the new Axon Fleet 3 in-car camera system and Cradlepoint NetCloud Manager, touting the upgrades as a huge step forward in police accountability.
The Cradlepoint cloud server provides network and cellular connectivity management to LAPD, allowing them to control and administer their entire vehicle fleet remotely.
The Axon Fleet 3 in-car camera system will provide patrol cars with both forward and rear facing cameras in the front and back of the vehicles, offering a wider angle of interior and exterior shots and higher resolution than the previous Axon system they had employed.
"This system will allow us to better monitor and record the actions of officers in the field and ensure they are following protocol," Moore said. "Providing more real-time information to and from patrol cars on instances like officer-involved shootings, traffic stops and critical incidents."
The new camera system also will pair directly with officers' Axon body-worn cameras — which have been in use since 2016 — allowing officers to sync directly with their dashcam audio rather than wearing a separate microphone. This shared audio connection between the body-worn camera mics and dashcam mics will save time without the need to sync up audio between the old, separate mics officers had worn.
"The LAPD prides itself in innovation and leveraging technology to uphold public confidence, while working to reduce the administrative burden on our officers," Deputy Chief John McMahon said.
Previously, officers would have to return to their division and place their cameras into a dock in order to upload video and audio to the evidence logs. With the new Cradlepoint cloud service, patrol cars will be equipped with a router and modem in the rear that allows footage to be uploaded to the server directly from the field the moment the camera is turned off so long as there is an internet connection available.
The upgraded systems were approved by the Los Angeles City Council last fall, with the department purchasing 2,000 units of the Cradlepoint server, costing around $3 million, and another $7 million for the 1,500 new camera systems.
The process of implementing the cameras inside their patrol vehicles began in October, according to Sgt. Armand Lemoyne. There are currently around 1,100 vehicles already equipped with the new cameras and cloud server, with the remaining 400 expected to be completed by summer.
"The last time we upgraded, it took us around four years to completely implement the new cameras," Moore said. "This has taken us a little under a year to complete."
While Axon's Fleet 3 cameras come equipped with an automated license plate reader feature that would allow patrol cars to scan vehicles plates on the road without any need for officers to operate it, the LAPD did not purchase a license to use this feature, according to McMahon.
"These advances will not only provide increased transparency for the public, but also improve the working conditions for our officers," McMahon said.
Though the system will allow footage to be processed by authorities in a much quicker fashion, Sgt. Lemoyne said that it was unlikely there will be any improvement in the expediency in the releasing of critical incident videos to the public.
Chief Moore ended his presentation stressing that LAPD is constantly looking to move the department forward in terms of technology, and the next goal will be the live-streaming of body-worn and dash-cam footage directly to watch commanders and supervisors so as to not rely on news broadcasts for up-to-date information on critical incidents.
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