WILLIAMS – Police departments across the country have invested heavily in body and dashboard-mounted cameras. And now the Williams Police Department is testing technology that could become the newest way to record police activities: gun-mounted cameras.
Brian Hedeen, president and CEO of Minneapolis-based Viridian Weapon Technologies, said his company develops cameras for weapons.
“After the Ferguson shooting, pretty much immediately when I saw the fallout from people not knowing what happened and being upset – conflicting witness reports and things like that – we right away said, ‘Wow, this will be a great application of our technology.’”
Local gunsmith Gerald Williams said the cameras do not compromise the accuracy of the weapons.
“It doesn’t add any weight,” he said. “It doesn’t affect your ability, your aim.”
Developers said that one of the main benefits of this technology is that things, such as arms and walls, can block body cameras. But these cameras may provide a clearer view.
And unlike some manually activated body cameras, once an officer draws his weapon, this camera will record everything that occurs and will continue to record until it is re-holstered, company officials said.
Williams Officer Jason Nicolls said the technology will help hold everyone accountable.
“I mean, if I did something wrong, I did it wrong and it’s out there in public already and I’ll own it,” he said. “People can’t just accuse us of stuff anymore. And this will be a good deterrent of that, I think.”
Hedeen said he hopes this kind of technology will become more widespread.
“We’re just getting this testing stage off the ground, and we’re hoping in the near future we’ll have a variety of departments adopt it,” he said.
The company began testing the cameras, which cost about $500 each, in about a dozen cities across the United States.