Hold Me Closer, Tiny Camera

Technology — from GPS tracking to Tasers — has been rapidly changing law enforcement.

But wait til you take a look at this new gizmo.

It’s a tiny camera, attached to an officer’s ear, that keeps video of daily interactions on the beat. And it’s not a piece of technology in the far off future — it’s being tested right now.

Here’s the story, by USA Today’s Jeff Martin:

“The camera system, sold by Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Taser International, is being tested this month by officers in Fort Smith, Cincinnati, San Jose and Aberdeen, S.D.”

The benefits of such cameras seem obvious. They could be effective in a trial as rock solid evidence (how could a defense attorney argue his client didn’t do something when the video shows he did?). Such cameras could also settle quickly claims of misconduct by police.

How soon will they come to a law enforcement officer’s ear near you? The short answer: don’t hold your breath.

“Ok, Lets see here,” said Dean Byrd of the Mason County Sheriff’s Office. “$5,700 for 50 officers. Thats about $285,000 in hard times when Commissioners seem to be coming to us for reductions so the County’s budget can be balanced.”

“No,” he said, “I don’t think we are going to buy them.”

“They are pretty cool,” added Al Townsend, chief of the Port Orchard Police Department. “We actually had one for a while about a year ago that we tested out.”

But, agreeing with Byrd, it comes down to dollars and cents, Townsend said.

” … Right now it’s clearly the cash issue,” Townsend said. “So none so far, but maybe in the future.”

In Mason County, the first step comes far before such technology, Byrd said.

“We still don’t have cameras or computers in most of our cars,” Byrd said. “We can only dream.”

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