AUSTIN -- In a news conference at Austin police headquarters Wednesday Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo twice thanked the mayor, the city council and Austin taxpayers for footing the bill on a new in-car video system.
Chief Acevedo said the new system is far better than what officers were previously using.
“Video has improved significantly. Resolutions are better. Low light capabilities are much higher. You can get video with almost no light at all,” said Law Enforcement Technical Specialist for Supercircuits Keith Harris. Supercircuits is a local manufacturer of surveillance camera systems.
In February 2011 the first of APD’s new in-car cameras were installed in waves. APD is now using the Panasonic Arbitrator 360.
Thomas Howard with APD’s Technical Unit said the new in-car camera systems not only have much higher resolution, but also seven triggers which cause the camera to automatically record.
A crash, going 90 mph, turning on police lights or sirens, or even opening the door, can all trigger the system to start recording.
Howard said the video files are encrypted and digitally signed. In other words, manipulation or tampering with the video is nearly impossible.
Acevedo said two squad cars were rolling Tuesday night when APD officer Brandon Blanch shot 42-year-old Maurice Paladino, a suspected car thief with a lengthy criminal history. Acevedo said the video showed that the officer was in danger and did what he had to to protect himself.
Paladino died later on Wednesday.
The last of APD’s squad cars were installed with the new camera systems Monday and will go online in November.
KVUE News also learned that the Travis County Sheriff’s Department recently purchased the same camera system for their deputies’ squad cars.