VISTA WiFi Developed for Law Enforcement Agencies Seeking Integration of In-Car and Body-Worn Video Camera Systems
ALLEN, Texas – Video evidence and the ability to aggregate it has become an integral part of effective law enforcement and the justice system. In a recent interview, Allen Cummings, Chief of Police in Pennsville, New Jersey, a small community on the banks of the Delaware River spoke to this, "They want video in the station. They want video out in the parking lot. They want video from the car. They want video from the officer's body camera. That's all part of discovery now. We're seeing cases being thrown out (of court) without video."
An estimated seventy-two percent of law enforcement jurisdictions in the United States utilize in-car video systems. That fact, combined with the rapid adoption and deployment of body-worn cameras throughout the nation in the past two years has led many jurisdictions to a logical conclusion; these two valuable evidentiary tools must be integrated. In response, WatchGuard Video, a leading manufacturer of law enforcement video solutions, has added VISTA WiFi™ to its family of body-worn cameras to fulfill the needed capability of strengthening case evidence through synchronized video from multiple vantage points.
The call for this vital integration has begun in earnest with WatchGuard citing a five-fold increase in receipt of law enforcement agencies publishing Requests for Proposals requiring this capability versus six months earlier. With the formal launch of VISTA WiFi body cameras in May, the demand for the technology has led to over twenty-three agencies pre-ordering the product.
The Police Department for the City of Lake Charles, Louisiana is one of those departments that placed an order when they learned WatchGuard was working to release the product.
"We've been a WatchGuard customer for years and we are anxiously awaiting delivery of 110 VISTA WiFi Cameras," said Don Dixon, Chief of the Lake Charles Police Department. "I believe this intuitive pairing of body cameras with the in-car systems is the future of video evidence."
While integration of the two systems was the original focus for WatchGuard Video, their team of engineers believed they could develop a solution that would be more aligned to how officers work in the field. "Officers collaborate and work in teams," explained Brent Robertson, Engineering Director and lead engineer on the VISTA WiFi project. "Why shouldn't their cameras do the same?"
The team of over sixty engineers rose to that challenge and came up with an innovative solution: A system that allows an in-car system and multiple body-worn cameras to instinctively and automatically collaborate to capture video evidence of a single incident from multiple vantage points.
HOW IT WORKS
When integrated with WatchGuard's 4RE® in-car video system, multiple officers using VISTA WiFi body-worn cameras can intelligently collaborate in the recording of a single incident. The Wi-Fi capability in the body-worn cameras and a Wi-Fi access point in the car allow the cameras to become members of a group recording network. Patent-pending Distributed Multi-Peer Recording™ technology distributes decision-making to in-car and body-worn cameras, giving any officer on the team the power to initiate a group recording in which all cameras in the recording group begin capturing synchronized video evidence. Recordings from the individual cameras are uploaded and automatically linked in evidence management software for viewing and sharing.
"The work of our engineering team on this integration is changing how video evidence will be captured and aggregated moving forward," said Robert Vanman, Founder and CEO of WatchGuard Video. "Our team spends a lot of time listening to the needs of law enforcement as it pertains to video evidence. With VISTA WiFi, I think they'll find we not only surpassed their needs, we've leapfrogged the market's expectations."
In March 2015, the Cottonwood, Arizona Police Department was thrust into the national spotlight after a brawl occurred between a transient family and officers in the parking lot of a local grocery store. That fight resulted in the shooting death of one suspect, the wounding of another, an officer shot and several other officers sustaining injury. Because of the complexity of the incident and multiple situations within the scene, Cottonwood PD Chief, Jody Fanning (now retired), opted to use the in-car video evidence to brief the media on what had transpired. As a result of his forward-thinking use of video evidence, Chief Fanning received the Livio A. Beccaccio Award by the FBI National Academy Associates.
When told of VISTA WiFi and its capabilities, Chief Fanning nodded his head saying, "If we had that capability when the Cottonwood incident occurred, it would have instantly shown what the officers saw from all angles within a very complex scene. Irrefutable video testimony. Like it or not, that's the future of video evidence."
About WatchGuard Video
WatchGuard Video is the technology pioneer and market leader for law enforcement video systems and evidence-management software. One-third of the agencies in the United States utilize WatchGuard's proprietary solutions to capture, manage and share digital video evidence using the most durable, reliable and highest-quality American-made products including the 4RE® in-car and VISTA™ body camera systems.
To learn more please, visit www.watchguardvideo.com or call 1-800-605-6734.
VISTA WiFi schematic showing group recording of single incident.
Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNjoQLo2FHw