ASSISTANT Commissioner of Police (Mobile) Joanne Archie on Monday expressed her thanks to US company Digital Ally for the provision of body and dashboard cameras to the Traffic and Highway Patrol Branch. The equipment was handed over to the police during a brief ceremony at the TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce's offices in Westmoorings on Monday.
The initiative, which is already underway, is a pilot project involving the provision of three dashboard cameras and 12 body cameras to the Traffic and Highway Patrol Branch.
Archie thanked Digital Ally international sales manager Rafael Polo for the equipment. She was confident the cameras would assist the police in their duties. Archie also hoped there would be "more positive developments coming out of this."
Polo said Digital Ally serves all 50 states in the United States and 80 countries around the world. The company is based in Lenexa, Kansas. Digital Ally to date has sold more than 120,000 pieces of equipment to various clients. Polo said Digital Ally partners extensively with law enforcement agencies worldwide. He explained the changing landscape in law enforcement has resulted in technology like cameras becoming as important to police officers "as the radio and the gun."
Polo spoke of instances where police officers would not go out in the field without cameras. He explained that body cameras could be equipped with infra-red capability to allow the detection of firearms in dark environments and continue recording up to 30 minutes under water. Polo said the cameras can network to an officer's cellphone and this could be important in the collection of evidence.
He said the use of body and dashboard cameras in the US have saved law enforcement agencies millions of dollars in lawsuits. Polo explained this was because people act differently when interacting with police officers because they know they are being recorded. Similarly, he said the use of the cameras would discourage police officers from engaging in certain kinds of negative behaviour.
On its website, Digital Ally said studies have shown video is deployed by a law enforcement agency, officer performance and professionalism increase dramatically. There are improved community relations between the agency and the general public. Video deployments always coincide with an increase in successful prosecutions and officers spend less time completing paperwork and making court appearances. Digital Ally is partnering with local firm Bromari Limited on this project.