All of Oklahoma’s 114 Game Wardens were recently equipped with body-worn cameras to document law enforcement activities.
“Body-worn cameras have been under consideration at ODWC for several years,” said Col. Nathan Erdman, Chief of Law Enforcement for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “After seeing them in action, it is clear that the body cameras are a very effective tool.”
The cameras are fully functioning smartphones using a software application from Visual Labs, a California software company. The device can also function as a digital camera, an audio recorder and a personnel locator.
“We were looking for a cost-effective system that would be easy for our Game Wardens to use in the field and for our headquarters staff to manage remotely. The footage and location data were extremely valuable in documenting a recent land access dispute,” Erdman said.
“One of the features that increases our operational efficiency is the ability for automatic upload of footage directly from the field,” Erdman said. “Once a body camera recording is completed, the footage is automatically uploaded. This eliminates the need for docking stations, routers, data cables or any additional hardware.”
The Visual Labs body camera includes several officer safety features such as the ability to live-stream video and audio from the scene. Also, a suite of location analytics, such as heat-mapping capabilities, allows Game Wardens to better document their activities in their assigned areas in daily activity logs for supervisors’ review.
ODWC chose the Kyocera DuraForce PRO 2, a waterproof and dustproof “ruggedized” Android smartphone. Each smartphone is connected to FirstNet built with AT&T.
Visual Labs CEO Alex Popof said the introduction of body cameras went smoothly. “Col. Erdman and his team’s preparation coupled with our previous experience with other wildlife agencies led to a quick and smooth rollout. On a Monday morning, there were 114 phones in individual boxes, and by noon, a quarter of the Department had been fully trained on the Visual Labs application and evidence management website. Over the following week, the balance of the Department was fully trained.”
ABOUT ODWC LAW ENFORCEMENT
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Game Wardens are certified peace officers based throughout Oklahoma’s 77 counties and are responsible for enforcing wildlife laws and regulations. Wardens also assist with programs such as hunter education and community outreach efforts. They are trained in all phases of first aid, CPR and other life-saving methods and may be called upon to assist in search and rescue operations. (www.wildlifedepartment.com/law)
ABOUT VISUAL LABS
Visual Labs Inc. is a software company based in Menlo Park, Calif., that has developed software for Android smartphones and a web-based evidence management platform to provide Criminal Justice Information Services-compliant body and dash camera solutions. Visual Labs solutions are used by law enforcement, private security and other customers across the United States and internationally. (visuallabsinc.com)