The Halton Regional Police Service (consisting of 700 sworn officers and 300 civilian employees) provides policing services to approximately 600,000 residents within Milton, Halton Hills, Oakville and Burlington.
The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) has partnered with Panasonic to implement an In Car Camera video solution to complement their existing evidence collection practices. Eye witness accounts of incidents are subjective and can make it difficult for officers to establish the facts of a situation. As an organization that recognizes the value of technology to both police officers and the community, HRPS sought a solution to objectively collect evidence in situations where remembering forgotten details and reconciling differing accounts can make all the difference.
HRPS recognizes that the profession of policing is increasingly scrutinized by the public who are demanding more accountability and transparency in police operations. At the same time officers need a system that can capture the good work the police do every day that is not always accurately reported or captured. The In Car Camera System is one tool that empowers officers with the latest technology to both showcase the activities of police officers in the field while providing an independent view of police and community interactions.
Following a rigorous pilot period, where the team tested various in-car camera offerings, Halton Regional Police Service decided to equip its officers with Panasonic’s Arbitrator 360° HD in-car digital video recording system. The initial pilot enabled Halton to measure both successes and challenges associated with in-car camera technology. The team recognized the operational benefits of adding in-car video as a resource for their organization, making it an easy decision to expand on an established foundation. Knowing comprehensive support was needed for a successful implementation, Halton chose Panasonic to manage Halton’s initial 40-car deployment.
The team viewed the implementation as much more than just adding hardware to the police officers’ arsenal of tools. Instead, it was an opportunity to compliment the professional services provided to the community every day. Supt. Davis commented that, “Capturing high quality video and audio of police interactions is an important modern expectation of our public. ICCS not only supplements traditional note taking, but it delivers an additional and impartial perspective during an incident. Most importantly, it helps capture the countless examples of the exceptional work being done by our front line officers.” Policing is a qualitative and human profession where in car video helps reveals the legal complexities, unpredictable situations, and challenging environments that Halton officers successfully navigate every day.
After implementing Panasonic’s Arbitrator 360° HD in-car digital video recording system, Halton Regional Police Service experienced immediate benefits such as capturing important evidence to communicate what officers are experiencing in the field. Implementing the new technology provided the team with tangible confirmation of the anticipated value provided by police recording devices in the field. The use of these technologies will positively impact the way police services operate and continually strive to better serve the community.
While some Canadian police services are beginning to explore various officer video options, the team in Halton recognized the positive impact Panasonic’s in car technology could have in preparing for broader adoption of these technologies. “The Halton Regional Police Service is comprised of a unique group of thinkers that are constantly looking at how technology can be used in an innovative way to drive positive business outcomes,” said Julie Craddock, Inspector, Halton Regional Police. “We recognized early on that digital video recording technology is the way of the future, so we knew that being an early adopter in Canada would be a strategic business opportunity for us.”
The team determined that the most effective way to introduce Panasonic’s Arbitrator 360° HD in-car digital video recording system was through a multiphase approach. In May of 2015, Halton Regional Police started a pilot program where the team deployed and tested technology from several vendors, including Panasonic. During the pilot phase, Halton investigated how in-car cameras could be used to enhance officer’s current day to day policing duties and potential application opportunities. The team found that cameras provided decisive visual evidence for certain offences such as incomplete stops at intersections or driving under the influence. That visual evidence could be used to corroborate or expand on the reporting officer’s perspective and was used successfully in court.
After testing the technology for more than a year, the team closely examined the results and worked through lessons learned, and developed Halton’s requirements before issuing a formal RFP to deploy in-car cameras for a single district.
Halton Regional Police Service chose Panasonic’s Arbitrator 360° HD cameras for their deployment. In addition to performing in extreme conditions like the Canadian winter, Halton had several other requirements. Halton needed devices that were durable, robust and reliable to support a demanding 24/7 operational police environment, along with the flexibility to deploy the cameras in new and innovative ways. Along with the traditional in-car camera setup, Panasonic provided a side camera solution that will allow officers to track distracted driving, such as texting while driving. Many believe that distracted driving is as serious as impaired driving in Canada and will often dispute it in court due to the high penalties associated with this offence. By installing cameras on both the interior and the side of its police cars, officers in Halton can now digitally capture the distracted driving evidence to support their testimony in court. According to Superintendent Derek Davis, the side camera evidence is a “game changer” when it comes to distracted driving enforcement and education.
Beyond that, Halton sought a full-service technology partner that would support them throughout the entire process, beginning with implementation of the in-car videos to the support and services required to maintain the deployment. One of Panasonic’s differentiating factors was they provided personalized on-site support. From training on the technology to sitting with senior leadership to truly understand the challenges of the police service, Panasonic was there every step of the way.
Davis added, “We were very pleased with the support provided by Panasonic throughout this complex project. Their team was always available to answer questions with both onsite and consultative support. Our Arbitrator 360° HD in-car cameras installation was certainly aided by out familiarity and confidence in Panasonic products including for our TOUGHBOOK integration into our department.”
Halton currently uses the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK CF-19 across the entire regional police services team and is testing the TOUGHBOOK CF-33 for a potential future deployment of mobile data terminals installed in the front of the vehicles.
For Halton, it was also critical to find an in-car digital video recording system that could capture quality images and perform a variety of different functions, including high definition video recording as well as live streaming. Halton found that Panasonic’s Arbitrator 360° HD rugged and reliable in-car digital video recording system led the industry in image quality for critical mobile video evidence capture. With a full HD 1080p front camera and supporting rear record capabilities in 720p HD, Halton found that Panasonic offered the best in image quality and zoom functionality. Administratively, the ability to easily classify each video at creation, Halton has also seen improvements in managing its digital evidence.
The team also identified the need to access live streaming from the patrol car, a capability that Panasonic delivered. Live streaming has been used to provide commanders and dispatchers with enhanced decision making abilities during dynamic incidents.Halton Regional Police Service is currently underway with its deployment of a 40-car district, with a goal of outfitting the entire municipality in the years to come. The team already had full confidence in the abilities of their police officers, but now the leadership team can corroborate those beliefs through direct video evidence. In Car Camera video also provides opportunities to enhance police training, improve evidence collection and provides an additional resource to police investigators.
The Panasonic team worked closely with the Halton Project team through comprehensive support and consultations, leading to a successful implementation of the in-car cameras. An important part of that success was the positive experience and feedback of the front line officers. This was a direct result of the Panasonic/Halton project team partnership placing a major focus on training, coupled with Panasonic’s consistent onsite support, solutions and technical expertise.