Body worn cameras have been some of the most discussed and researched pieces of technology in law enforcement. Body worn camera systems are expensive, as costs not only involve purchasing and maintaining hundreds of cameras, but also purchasing server storage space and personnel to handle the thousands of hours of video recorded each month that must be maintained, stored, and prepared for trials. Due to those costs, it was challenging to immediately equip every officer with a body worn camera for an agency our size.
The process to provide all our uniformed officers with body worn cameras took approximately three years. Beginning in February of 2019, the Lincoln police Department was able to expand the use of body worn cameras when Center Team patrol officers were outfitted with the devices. In early 2020, all Northwest Team patrol and Traffic Unit officers began utilizing the devices. In the budget for 2021, the City was able to allocate funds necessary for the remaining three patrol teams (Northeast Team, Southeast Team, and Southwest Team) to receive body worn cameras.
The department currently uses Watchguard Vista body worn cameras. All officers complete required training on proper use before being able to deploy a body worn camera. The camera is mounted to the front of the uniformed officer's shirt or jacket. When activated, the camera records and saves video and audio. The recordings are uploaded to the department server when the camera is placed in the charging dock, usually at the end of the officer's shift. The recordings upload directly to the secure server and at no point are officers able to make any edits or modifications to the recordings. Random body worn camera recordings from each officer are reviewed monthly by supervisors to ensure compliance with department policy.