In September of 2022, the UMMC Police and Public Safety Department equipped all sworn police officers and security officers with body-worn cameras. This decision to introduce such technology into our Police Department's operations has been the result of extensive research, planning, and investment. The implementation of body-worn cameras will serve as an additional tool for the UMMC PD to foster transparency and accountability in our community service.
We understand that the UMMC community may have questions regarding this change. Therefore, leading up to the deployment of body-worn cameras, we aimed to provide the community with background information on the rationale behind adopting this technology.
The UMMC PD is grateful for your support, and we are committed to continuously striving to be deserving of it.
Reasons for Using Body-Worn Cameras in Police Departments
Body-worn cameras are increasingly becoming a standard tool in law enforcement. Advancements in technology have led to improvements in the quality of these devices, and a growing number of police agencies have embraced them to enhance transparency and accountability. Extensive studies and research have demonstrated the effectiveness of body-worn cameras, which can be attached to an officer's uniform, in promoting transparency to the public, encouraging civilian compliance, expediting the resolution of citizen complaints, improving officer professionalism, and aiding in criminal prosecutions.
UMMC's Planning and Evaluation Process
In the Summer of 2021, UMMC recognized the importance of body-worn cameras and made the decision to secure funding for their purchase and deployment to our officers. The UMMC PD developed a comprehensive plan that involved conducting thorough research and evaluating various vendors of body-worn camera systems based on the specific needs of our police department. Our research encompassed aspects such as implementation considerations, associated costs, potential benefits, and was informed by in-depth staff research and a review of relevant white papers and case law.
During this process, we identified the leading body-worn camera companies in the industry. Throughout the fall 2021, we formed a project team tasked with evaluating the impact of each system on our current infrastructure, including areas such as record management, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and redactions, evidence and case management, officer and supervisor usage, software compatibility, and hardware reliability.
Based on the findings from our comprehensive research, we determined that EOS by Utility offered the highest level of efficiency and functionality across all essential features. Furthermore, it possesses exclusive critical features that will optimize the efficiency of our police department.
In September 2022, the UMMC PD implementation a smooth and effective rollout of body-worn cameras.
The decision made by UMMC and the UMMC PD to adopt body-worn cameras was not taken lightly. Our research indicated that body-worn cameras would be highly beneficial for both the police department and the community. Therefore, we did not hesitate to move forward with their purchase and implementation because it was the right course of action.
It is important to note that body-worn cameras alone do not define a professional police department. The key pillars of professionalism lie in hiring individuals with strong moral and ethical values, providing continuous training, and fostering a principled culture based on respect and compassion. These are the true hallmarks of a professional police department committed to serving the community faithfully.