GALLUP, N.M., Feb. 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — In October 2020, the Gallup Police Department fully transitioned from using in-vehicle “dash” cameras to body-worn cameras. Dash cameras had been used by GPD since 1999 to record law enforcement encounters. While effective, the dash cameras lacked the ability to visually record the officer and their actions once they left their patrol car and the field of vision of the camera was limited. Conversely, body-worn cameras provide a near first-person perspective of the actions taken by the officer and those they encounter, regardless of their location.

“The goals of our body-worn camera program include enhancing services and providing transparency with respect to interactions between our officers and our citizens,” said Police Chief Franklin Boyd. He added “We had been in process of deploying body worn cameras before recent legislation required their use, so we were well positioned to comply with the new law.” GPD had been studying and planning for this project for almost two years. However, the passage of Senate Bill 8 in June of 2020 by the New Mexico State Legislature hastened the implementation. Senate Bill 8 requires that all sworn police officers in New Mexico wear body cameras while on-duty, and record all law enforcement encounters. 

The body-worn cameras used by GPD are actually fully-functioning Android cell phones. The Kyocera DuraForce PRO 2, is a waterproof, dustproof “rugged” Android smartphone. Each smartphone is connected to FirstNet built with AT&T. On each smartphone, a software application is installed from Visual Labs, a Silicon Valley software company. The Visual Labs software is the only FirstNet Certified body camera application.

In addition to adding the functionality of a body-worn camera, the Visual Labs application allows the device to function as a digital camera, an audio recorder and a personnel locator, all while retaining the functionality of the smartphone itself. “It is a great way to put more functionality in the hands of our officers without adding multiple pieces of hardware,” added Chief Boyd.

One of the features that increases operational efficiency is the ability for automatic upload.  Once a body-camera recording is completed, the footage is automatically uploaded to a secure, CJIS-compliant cloud storage solution.  This eliminates the need for docking stations, routers or any additional hardware or wiring. “Implementation was a breeze,” said Officer Jon Whitsitt, Systems Manager for the Gallup Police Department. “We provided each officer with a cell phone loaded with Visual Labs, gave them the necessary training, and sent them into the field.” He added, “The deployment could not have been any easier.”

The Visual Labs smartphone body-worn camera solution includes several officer-safety features such as the ability to livestream video and audio directly from the scene of a critical incident.  This enables command staff to obtain real-time situational awareness and make tactical decisions even when they are not present at the scene.  This feature is available directly from the smartphone without the need to connect to any additional hardware.

“We are extremely pleased that the Gallup Police Department has selected the Visual Labs smartphone body camera solution,” said Alexander Popof, COO of Visual Labs. “The department has always focused on better ways to serve its community, and we are glad to be part of that effort with our high-technology solution.”

The Gallup Police Department is a community-oriented police organization comprised of 63 sworn Police Officers, eight Public Service Officers, and eight civilian employees. It provides around-the-clock services in the City of Gallup, located in northwest New Mexico.

Contact: Jon Whitsitt; [email protected]; 505-863-9365

Visual Labs, Inc. is a Menlo Park, California based software company that has developed software for Android smartphones and a web-based evidence management platform to provide a CJIS-compliant body and dash camera solutions.  The Visual Labs solutions are used by law enforcement, private security and other customers all across the United States and internationally.

Contact: Alexander Popof; [email protected];  818-919-9802

SOURCE Visual Labs

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