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NYPD Starts Body Camera Pilot Program 170

An anonymous reader writes: In the wake of the Michael Brown shooting, calls for continuous recording of all police activity have become loud and strenuous. Now, one of the biggest police forces in the world will begin testing body cameras. The New York Police Department announced a pilot program to test the wearable cameras in high-crime districts. "[T]he participation of the New York department, with its 35,000 uniformed members and vast footprint on the country's policing policy, could permanently shift the balance in favor of the cameras, which both civil libertarians and many police chiefs have cited as a way to improve relations between citizens and law enforcement, particularly in heavily policed minority communities." The NYPD will be testing hardware from two manufacturers: Vievu and Taser International. While the 60-camera pilot program will get running for about $60,000, IT costs are expected to quickly outstrip that amount.
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NYPD Starts Body Camera Pilot Program

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  • by dj245 ( 732906 ) on Friday September 05, 2014 @11:24AM (#47834757) Homepage

    If you, the reader, has any experience with office politics or politics you know the popular underhanded technique of supporting something while undermining it.

    Overhead, corruption, and incompetence are too often used as an excuse; many times it IS simply an underhanded attack by the "supporters." When NYPD spends $60,000 while saying it's going to cost more for only 60 cameras there are people involved who WANT it to be as expensive as possible of a deterrent. A high profile test group like NYPD will get cited all over the nation. Given how badly it is needed and demanded by the public, the costs are going to have to be high to deter widespread common use. Despite how actually cheap it would be - I bet their flash lights cost more... I had a cheap pen camera from china that was in that price range; it didn't last long or store much video but that was 6 years ago.

    This is also where greedy capitalism comes in because that is all about how much the market is willing to pay--- and they've got to make sure this is a niche market so it doesn't have to compete with the extremely cheap mainstream market.

    Sure, the way public budgets are managed is they take all projected costs (on the high side) then divide them out in ways that makes things like this seem like it's $10,000 a camera -- and one can sometimes spot the traitors because they'll focus on such false estimates.

    Now it could be this is a totally honest move by NYPD and their high costs are because they are preparing for a full scale deployment with this just being a testing group. I'm just too cynical to take things at face value... wonder if any reporters exist who can hang around enough to pick up on such things anymore.

    Hint- Industrial type equipment designed for daily rough use is expensive. I have a Motorola Pro5150 radio on my desk here which apparently costs about $400 [] (finding an actual price on this thing isn't easy) depending on which model it is. For a radio. But it is built like a tank, designed very well, and looks a lot like what police departments use. A wearable camera built like this radio costing $1000 each might be expensive, but it wouldn't be absurdly expensive.

  • by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Friday September 05, 2014 @12:07PM (#47835075) Homepage Journal

    When NYPD spends $60,000 while saying it's going to cost more for only 60 cameras there are people involved who WANT it to be as expensive as possible of a deterrent.

    As somebody who once worked in government purchasing, $60k for 60 cameras didn't even make me blink at the expense, to the point that I was figuring it's equipment expenses alone, not including labor and such.

    Let's start with the camera: $399 []
    One mounted on a pair of glasses: $599
    Dock hardware (price not listed), a few different mounting options(price not listed), etc...

    IT costs, well I figure the NYPD will want to set up it's own solution but the same company offers cloud storage specifically for the video with the necessary bells and whistles for chain of evidence/custody at [] Starts at $15/month, though I wouldn't see the NYPD going for less than the 'Pro' Package at $39/month per officer(because that includes redaction and agency reports), and it could go as high as $55.

    That's $468/year for storage, putting us right at $1k for the glasses and storage** for 1 year, and we don't even have anybody administering the program yet!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 05, 2014 @02:22PM (#47836427)

    Worth bearing in mind that if it's going to be used by the police, it's going to much high specification.

    No, I'm not talking image quality - I'm talking about battery life, weight, reliability, and robustness. Cheap consumer stuff tends to be bulky, have a high power draw, be vulnerable to being sheocked, dropped or crushed, and doesn't tend to do well in adverse weather conditions. If you think about what the police actually do with these things, their requirements aren't that far off of military grade - the only thing they probably don't need is to be EMP hardened. This is one of the few areas where mil-spec gear in police hands actually makes sense.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982