The V700 Body Camera Helps the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office RTCC Take Safety to the Next Level
“The V700 [body camera] helps us take safety to the next level and dramatically increases officer safety – it’s like a bigger brother looking over the officer’s shoulder, always making sure they are safe,” said Captain Jack Lightfoot from Lafayette Parish, Louisiana.
When Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office first introduced its body camera program, some officers were hesitant to participate. Lafayette Parish currently offers 160 body cameras to its law enforcement division personnel who serve roughly a quarter of a million residents in their combined rural and urban jurisdiction. Lafayette Parish was among the first select few agencies to try the new V700 LTE body camera,
“Once our officers were exposed to the real-time video aspect and can see what it can do for them, we’ve had no problems at all implementing the program – in fact, now they whole-heartedly endorse everything about it,” said Captain Lightfoot. In particular, a situation involving a weapon at a school was a crucial turning point for the agency in realizing the benefits of video livestreaming. “If you have a threat call at a school, to be able to watch that officer from their perspective, walking around that school, is huge.”
How Does Body Camera Video Streaming Improve Officer Safety?
“We’re using the body cameras for situational awareness of about 140 of our deputies and 20 school resource officers,” said Captain Lightfoot. As an example, coincidentally at a time that the Captain was giving a tour of the RTCC, an officer conducting a traffic stop was involved in a physical altercation with the driver. The officer’s collar mic was moving around as the altercation escalated, making the officer unable to call for backup. The RTCC was able to immediately see the situation through the officer’s body camera video and quickly call out for assistance.
Under Sheriff Mark Garber’s leadership, the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office has invested significantly in one of the most progressive real-time crime centers (RTCC) in the U.S, monitoring real-time video streaming based on both critical alerts and calls for service. The RTCC provides virtual backup and situational awareness through real-time video streaming of body cameras in addition to over 1,000 school cameras and 1,100 traffic cameras.
Body camera video streaming enables real-time virtual backup for officer safety. As Technical Services Lieutenant Jason Menard relates, being able to have the body camera automatically turn on based on an emergency button press is “a game-changer, because now real-time crime and dispatch both receive alerts. For officer safety, in any situation, we can have someone [in dispatch] communicating via the radio and someone in the RTCC getting eyes on the scene.” This allows command staff to get resources to the scene faster and more efficiently, which can make all the difference for officer and community safety.
Body Camera Video Streaming Enhances Patrol Operations… Virtually
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office also sees value in having a pair of backup eyes on the scene in order to support officers on patrol. For example, when an officer asks for identification and radios out loud that information, subjects with criminal history may become agitated and flee or fight if they know there are active warrants for their arrest.
“When the officer asks, ‘do you have identification on you?’, the deputy can continue the conversation with the subject instead [of radioing in the ID], holding the ID up [to the body camera] so that the real-time crime center can see it, run the records and share real-time information back in the officer’s earpiece,” explained Captain Lightfoot. “The picture quality is so high that you can read the driver’s license number and name, and even see the driver’s license photograph. So one agent can be running the search while another can be searching online for any helpful information regarding the subject.” With the RTCC support, the conversation with the deputy can happen without the subject hearing the information being shared, mitigating the risk of the subject becoming apprehensive or dangerous and increasing safety for the officer.
Taking Situational Awareness to the Next Level
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office continues to grow and expand its real-time operations and is looking to extend its situational awareness to the sky with a drone program, as well as grow its real-time video capabilities, collaboration with SWAT and even virtual supervision.
“Let’s say the Sheriff is away and we have a critical incident,” said Captain Lightfoot. “Command authority can now livestream what’s going on and make an executive decision based on a real-time view of the scene, rather than just a visual description from someone on-scene. That eliminates miscommunication, cuts down time and gives true situational awareness.”
With V700 body cameras and CommandCentral Aware, the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office is taking officer safety and situational awareness to the next level for its real-time intelligence operations.