By Joyell Nevins
WEST MILTON — The West Milton Police Department is making use of its new in-car video system in its four cruisers: a Crown Victoria, two Dodge Chargers and a Dodge Durango. The purchase was officially approved at the March 11 council meeting and installed in April.
“An in-car video system is a valuable tool not only for the prosecution of any incident, but it is also a valuable asset which protects our officers from false accusations,” municipal manager Matt Kline said.
The new video system was supposed to cost $18,075 from Digital Ally Company out of Lenexa, Kansas. However, according to Kline, Officer Adam Simpson installed the computers himself, saving the city $1,000. Plus, through his research and negotiation, Simpson was able to save another $3,000 on estimated costs.
The system was added into the 2014 budget in a section for “updated equipment essential for the proper administration of the police division.”
Chief of Police Garry Kimpel said the previous system was DVR based, but the hard drives still had moving parts, so there were failures.
“When police video does not work properly you have two problems,” Kimpel said. “First, you do not capture valuable evidence. Second, it allows defense attorneys to question why there is no video and bring undue suspicion upon officers who are just trying to do the right thing and the technology failed.”
Kimpel noted that when the old system was bought about six years ago, it was “cutting edge” at the time, but technology has continued to improve.
“Our new video units are solid state technology, meaning no moving parts. They capture the video on an internal hard drive on a SD card. In addition, using digital and wireless technology, they download automatically to a server on station each time we pull to the rear of the police department and turn off our vehicles,” Kimpel explained.
He said the double back-up “severely reduces” the possibility of not capturing important evidence.
“So the more reliable the video system, the better service we can provide,” Kimpel said.
He also noted the department replaced its older in-car laptop computers with a tablet that works “better, faster and take up less room in the cruisers.”
The tablets are mounted purposefully to give the office more room and more visibility, Kimpel said.