FLINT TWP. — All 16 township patrol cars soon will have cameras on board to record police activity.
At its Monday night meeting, the township board unanimously approved the purchase of In-Car Camera Systems for the police department fleet.
The $109,298 cost will be completely covered by Justice Assistance Grant funds from 2005 and 2013. JAG is federal funding allocated annually to help in crime-fighting work.
In Dec. 2005 the township board authorized the purchase of 10 in-car camera at a cost of $85,767, said Police Chief George Sippert.
The system purchased caused hardware and software conflicts in the police cars and after failed attempts to get it to work as advertised, the manufacturer provided a full refund and the cameras were removed from the cars.
That money has since been held in reserve and will be paired with $23,531 in 2013 JAG funds to pay for the new system.
After researching and testing, the department has decided to buy an L-3 Video System from a major manufacturer of in-car camera systems.
L-3 provided a demo system that has been evaluated in two patrol cars for the past two months at the police station, Sippert said.
The price for the system was obtained through State of Michigan Bid pricing.
“Our need for an in-car camera system for all our police patrol vehicles has remained constant,” Sippert said. ” Most police agencies utilize these types of systems. In-car camera systems can improve citizens’ confidence in the police profession, enhance the ability to capture and convict violators, and record inappropriate police behavior.”
Sippert added that having the system will aide in police training and benefit public safety.
Lt. Tim Jones gave a brief video presentation on the features of the new system. For one, it will automatically conduct file transfers wirelessly as soon as a patrol car reaches the vicinity of the police station, saving time and manpower.
It also can backtrack 60 seconds from the time the system is activated either manually or when the officer slams on the brakes or turns on his emergency lights and sirens.
The cameras also include a GPS Module to help with categorizing locations.
One camera will be mounted facing forward to capture images outside the vehicle and another will be installed facing the back seat so that officers can keep an eye on passengers being transported.
Jones also noted that the cameras are useful in presenting court evidence.
Similar systems are used by the military, statewide and locally by area departments including Mt. Morris Twp. and Grand Blanc.