Thursday, March 03, 2011

Police Dashboard Cameras Go HD

The Celina and Frisco police departments are now using HD cameras in their patrol cars.

Celina, with their eight patrol cars, is the first police department in North Texas to put the HD cameras in all of their police cars.

When on patrol, Cpl. Shea Scott can control the new camera via a touch-screen monitor. Everything captured on the high-resolution video is automatically saved.

The clearer picture will help police with both catching criminals and prosecuting them, according to police.

"It also helps in court, when individuals are looking at DWI suspects when they're swaying and have poor balance that the jury doesn't normally get to see. The high definition picks up on all that," said Scott. "It's very clear. It's astonishing once you can go back and watch the video tape and be able to see the differences between what we used to have and what we have now."

The device is made by Watch Guard, a company in Allen. It allows police to go back in time. The camera records video even before the officer tells it to.

"The HD gives them the video that they didn't initially think that they needed but it also gives them the ability to analyze the video and identify faces or license plates and lead to solving crimes," said Jason Stuczynski, technical sales director.

The video is sent wirelessly to the police station, where the officer can pull it up on a computer and watch it in true HD.

Each camera costs about $5,000. But a clear picture for evidence can save taxpayers a lot more money in the long run, according to police.

The Celina Police Department was able to pay for the HD camera system with a federal grant.

Several more North Texas police agencies plan to visit Watch Guard Thursday to learn more about the product.

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