“Designed in England, holds up and gets great audio and video” – Police Chief Brian Gregory
There was a time not long ago when Clare Police Chief Brian Gregory received a complaint about one of his officers.
It was during a potential traffic hazard, and the officer was directing traffic.
A driver was upset, first calling Clare City Hall to lodge a complaint, then reaching Gregory at the police department.
Gregory invited the driver to come to the department and view a video taken by a Reveal RS1-SX body camera the officer was wearing at the time of the incident.
Turns out, the driver misheard the officer and conceded that police did nothing wrong.
“It brought a happy conclusion to both sides,” Gregory said. “There was a misinterpretation of what was going on.
“They heard something completely different from what was said.”
When the driver involved in the complaint thanked Gregory, the chief’s response was simple: That’s why his officers use the cameras.
Purchased through funding from the city of Clare, the Clare County Prosecutor’s Office and grants, the RS1-SX body cameras are used by all seven full-time Clare officers.
Clare’s two part-time officers also use the devices, as do reserve officers riding with full-time police.
Police have been using in-car video cameras for years, and those have proven valuable, but body cameras can see much more, Gregory said.
Attached to the uniform at chest-level, the RS1-SX body cameras see everything the officer sees with a wide-angle lens that can be moved up and down.
“If he goes into a house, you’re seeing what he’s seeing during an incident,” the chief said. “When an officer leaves his car, he’s out of video range unless he’s in front of the car.”
Body cameras provide protection for both the officer and citizens, Gregory said.
The cameras are taken into the department and video is downloaded to computers after every shift. They use the tried and tested Reveal software DEMS. Officers use two categories in DEMS to save the video; evidentiary and non-evidentiary.
Command officers review the videos, Gregory said.
Videos from the cameras have been used many times in prosecutions, he said.
Gregory said he and others at the department learned about the cameras when they traveled to Great Britain on a trip for the officer-owned Cops & Doughnuts in Clare.
They tested several brands after returning, but none were very durable, Gregory said, adding that they found a brand designed in England that holds up, and gets great audio and video.