Dothan Police Department updates camera systems

(WTVY News 4)
Published: Jun. 13, 2017 at 8:49 PM CDT
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Every vehicle in the Dothan Police Department fleet will soon be sporting a new "Body Worn" camera system which will have officers connected in real-time.

“This is going to give you the Rocket IOT – an “internet of things” – where we’re controlling everything through one central location,” said Ricky Vaughn, Field Engineer for Utility Associates.

Utility Associates - a company out of Decatur, Georgia - manufacturers the “Body Worn” camera systems. Vaughn, along with Dothan Police Department technicians Tyson Lattime and Lance Hudson, are busy installing the new equipment into vehicles at DPD’s Radio Shop.

The automated systems call for two cameras in each car, plus one in the officer’s vest.

“Once they turn the lights on, everything starts recording,” said Vaughn.

A Wi-Fi bubble is created around vehicles that allows officers to link other devices. The other big plus – cameras begin uploading video to cloud storage upon activation.

“It’s readily available for the officers to view back at the station almost immediately,” said Vaughn.

GPS tracking and an officer down function will allow for increased safety.

“An officer lays down for 30 seconds, it goes off and sends an alert all the way back to central dispatch so they can send help,” said Vaughn.

The new camera system comes with a hefty price tag of around one million dollars. But, police say it’s worth every penny.

“It’s something officers have been wanting for a long time, it’s just that technology has finally caught up so we can give it to them,” said Vaughn.

DPD purchased a total of 135 camera systems. Of those, about 25% of the police department’s fleet have been upgraded with the new body camera systems. Technicians say they hope to have all cars completed in two to three weeks.

The Dothan Police Department received a $200,000 grant through the Department of Justice to foot the bill for the new system. The Dothan City Commission agreed to pay the difference of $830,000 over a three-year period.