The Trophy Club Police Department recently upgraded the police camera system in all four patrol vehicles to the Watch Guard 4RE Digital Video system. The change in camera systems only cost the Town approximately $6,000, since the Denton County Sheriff's Office contributed approximately $25,000 toward the new camera system. Watch Guard is a highly regarded manufacturer of law enforcement products and holds 25% of the market share for police camera systems in the United States. Commander Lee Delk of the Trophy Club Police Department said one of the reasons TCPD switched to the Watch Guard system was the high definition video quality, which will allow for better evidence collection and prosecution.
Benefits of the Watch Guard system:
- Location - Watch Guard is based out of Allen, Texas, which allows for easy support, repair, and replacement of camera systems. TCPD's prior camera system made by Panasonic came from Japan, which made the product support and replacement process cumbersome.
- Wireless Technology - Watch Guard is a wireless system that is not reliant on an in-car computer for recording and uploading video content. The previous system was dependent on a computer for video content transfer, which was occasionally problematic.
- High Definition Video and Audio – HD video and audio allows police officers to read license plates up to 38 feet away, compared to only 18 feet by conventional standard definition systems. Three in car microphones, in addition to a wireless microphone on the officer's belt, allow for high quality audio. The officer's wireless microphone has a range of up to two miles away from the vehicle.
- Manual Transfer Option - An easily removable thumb drive, secured by a locked door, allows officers to manually upload content. This feature is important if the wireless system goes down or immediate access to a recording is required by the police department.
- Upload Speed - Watch Guard uploads at real-world transfer speeds and can upload up to nine hours of footage from as many as six vehicles simultaneously. The Arbitrator system was slow to upload recordings and was unable to upload content from multiple vehicles simultaneously.
How does Watch Guard system work?
The system works in two ways to record video for evidence gathering purposes:
- First, the officer is able to manually press the record button after activating sirens to investigate a crime.
- - Second, if the officer happens to forget to manually press the record button, there is a feature known as Record-After-The-Fact. With Record-After-The-Fact the officer is able to manually input time and date of the event as far as two days after the incident took place. The Watch Guard system will retrieve recording from the hard drive, which is constantly receiving real-time footage. Record-After-The-Fact is a feature that has vindicated many officers who forgot to manually record during the pursuit of a crime.