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VIEVU LLC’s ‘wearable cameras’ described by managing director, Steve Lovell
Police wear Vievu
Law enforcement agencies have been benefitting from in-car video since the early 1990’s in terms of obtaining better evidence, improved conviction rates and the exoneration of officers facing unwarranted complaints. But, it wasn’t until 2007, when VIEVU, LLC, of Seattle, WA, introduced its PVR-LE2 that the idea of “wearable cameras” took off.
Today, the LE2 is used by more than 2,000 law enforcement agencies in eight countries, according to Steve Lovell, managing director of VIEVU, who explained to GSN that one of the great bonuses of wearable cameras lies in the fact that 95 percent of police activity takes place away from the patrol car. In-car video still has great value, says Lovell, but VIEVU takes over when the officer steps away from the car, at which time the benefits to public safety and law enforcement increase exponentially, particularly as video captured during critical incidents away from the car offers factual accuracy that trumps what are sometimes erroneous “eye-witness” accounts.
In a case in Georgia only a few weeks ago, said Lovell, a suspect confided to an officer while he was being videotaped that he had committed a rape, a confession that the judge didn’t believe -- until he viewed the video documentation. In other recent cases involving shootings, it was only with the irrefutable evidence offered both by the video and audio obtained by body-worn cameras that the officers’ use of force was justified.
The LE2, which is priced at $900, easily clips to an officer’s uniform and produces high resolution color video and audio. It is rugged and sturdy and can be dropped from 10 feet. A camera lost in the snow in Indiana, when recovered two months later, needed only to be charged before it became operable again. VIEVU works with all in-car video manufacturers, and its videos can be loaded easily into an in-car database. VIEVU also furnishes its own video file management software, VERIPATROL, which provides a chain of custody for secure video files and documents their authenticity for later use in court.
It is technology that was “made by cops, for cops,” said Lovell, revolving around three main applications: public gatherings, point of inspection and access and control. And, consistent with standards developed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the videos from an officer’s shift can be viewed, but they cannot be edited, altered or deleted.
In 2011, VIEVU introduced a new product at the IACP conference, the PVR-LE4G, which records in HD quality and can be uploaded automatically, via Wi-Fi to the database with minimal officer intervention.
“We’ve drilled down to the wearer,” said Lovell. “This device is connected and intelligent and can stream video to a command center right from the officer’s chest. It’s video documentation of what the officer sees and does. If you are investigating a crime scene, you can turn on the device, stream the video to an investigator and document what you are seeing. The judge can log into the camera and issue a search warrant, based on the video. It’s just a nice way to record a different perspective -- the officer’s perspective, if you will.”
The PVR-LE4G is expected to start shipping in the third week of July, after final testing is completed. Lovell believes that a certain percentage of existing clients will purchase the PVR-LE4G to use with the LE2s that they already possess, with both camera systems running on the same database.
Although public safety has represented 97 percent of the company’s business to date, Lovell says he is extremely excited about imminent growth in the federal government, where the company’s products have already begun to be used by the military and national parks.
In March 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s “System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders Program” (SAVER) conducted a comparative assessment of wearable camera systems. The detailed findings, in which the PVR-LE2 was one of two products to receive the top grade of 3.4, among the five that were reviewed, are available by clicking here.