Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Panasonic Pushes Police Body Cameras

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Panasonic Pushes Police Body Cameras

Article excerpt

Panasonic is betting on the body-cam industry, as national debates and safety concerns push police departments to consider using them.

The technology giant, with its U.S. headquarters in Newark, is set to release the latest version of its Arbitrator body-worn camera and Unified Evidence Management System, created specifically for law enforcement officers, in December, the company said Wednesday at its technology center in Harrison, where it hosted a press demonstration.

The rectangular camera, which weighs 4.6 ounces, is Panasonic's latest push into the law enforcement sector, which it ventured into in 2005 with its in-vehicle Arbitrator recording software. The product, which was VHS-based at first, evolved over time, and Panasonic eventually developed the body cam as the "baby-brother" version of its in-vehicle product.

"When we launched our first body-worn [camera] three years ago, it was early" for the emerging market, said John Cusick, mobile evidence solutions product manager at Panasonic. "The industry really hadn't figured out what it wanted yet, but we saw that body- worn was coming. It seemed the technology of the moment."

Panasonic, which partnered with Microsoft to create some of the software used by the body cameras, is one of the larger players in the U.S. body-cam market. Other players include Scottsdale, Ariz.- based manufacturing company Taser and Seattle-based Vievu, which specializes in making body-worn cameras for professionals and law enforcement agencies.

The size of the market for body-worn cameras is unclear. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that in 2012 there were an estimated 780,000 uniformed police officers and detectives employed in the United States. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, an estimated 32 percent of local police departments provided at least some officers with body-worn cameras in 2013, with nearly 90 percent using some form of video camera technology. …

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