How Mobile Digital Video Evidence Collection Systems Are Advancing Law Enforcement

For agencies across the country, in-vehicle digital video evidence collection systems are becoming an increasingly critical tool for law enforcement work. Recently, we partnered with to find out how today’s officers are using mobile video technology on the job.

A PoliceOne survey, sponsored by Panasonic System Communications Company of North America, observed the use of mobile digital video evidence collection systems by law enforcement agencies across the nation. In the survey, 70 percent of officers reported using mobile digital video evidence collection systems at their agency and 77 percent said they’ve used video evidence to solve a crime or secure a conviction. These mobile video evidence collection systems are advancing law enforcement capabilities by providing deeper insight to what really happens out in the field and by providing solid, accurate evidence.

The survey showed that 80 percent of officers feel mobile video systems increase accountability, with 62 percent of respondents noting a decrease in unsubstantiated citizen claims because all officer-citizen interactions are being recorded, creating an unbiased record of events. These video surveillance records are providing concrete evidence in court that is near impossible to refute, which in return is reducing the burden on prosecutors and minimizing the amount of time spent in court. Additionally, more than half of respondents reported using mobile video for new recruit or in-service training.

Mobile digital video evidence systems like the Panasonic Arbitrator 360°™HD have become vital technology for law enforcement agencies, but achieving optimal results from these systems requires careful consideration and planning to ensure they deliver as promised. In the PoliceOne survey, over 50 percent of officers stated they have had issues transferring, managing or finding video evidence, while 62 percent reported difficulty capturing usable video evidence in low-light conditions. These challenges, and others, are common and can easily be overcome by keeping a few best practices in mind:

  • Establish policies, procedures and protocols. Guidelines for recording security, access, storage and retention are all contributing factors to successful mobile video programs. Strong and clearly defined policies should be put into effect to set standards for these programs prior to a mobile video implementation. These policies should be reviewed frequently to ensure optimal results and to address potential issues that may arise  in the field.
  • Invest in HD cameras. To ensure surveillance video can be  used as evidence it is crucial that the video is as high-quality as possible. Fuzzy, dim video can be  deemed inadmissible  in a courtroom whereas high-resolution video may provide details that may not have originally been noticed by an officer.
  • Ensure evidence integrity.  Any video used in court proceedings must be complete and unaltered. The proper steps must be taken by officers to ensure file integrity and that all video was captured, transmitted and stored correctly without opportunity for tampering. If a file’s integrity is suspicious, the evidence will not be acceptable in court.
  • Don’t forget the back end. Increased video quality means increased file size. With in-car video systems providing resolutions up to 1080p Full HD, agencies must have the means to offload, store and manage these files properly. Look for a comprehensive evidence management platform that aligns with chain of custody requirements and can ingest and manage a range of digital evidence types including still images, video, case files and report documents from multiple agencies.
  • Consider video beyond the vehicle. In-car video systems are becoming the norm for law enforcement and driving demand for other types of video recording tools and systems worth exploring  to further benefit your agency. Wearable camera systems and fixed surveillance systems are proving to be important tools in improving situational awareness and overall security.