Body Cameras Help With Records Accuracy

April 27, 2021 by Devin Culham

Body Cameras Help With Records Accuracy

In recent years, public safety agencies across the country have been adopting the use of body-worn cameras.

Although the cameras, which record audio and video from the wearing officer’s vest, are largely used as a precautionary measure for citizens and agency personnel, they are also used as a source of information or evidence.

Kelly Clingman, an evidence technician at Colorado’s Grand Junction Police Department, often refers to body-worn cameras to complete information in the agency’s record management system.

“As an evidence technician, we are 100% dependent on our records system for the case reports, the arrest made, the contact that the DA has had with us about those cases, and even old cases,” shared Clingman. “We have cases I'm going through right now from 2002, and our records tool has all the information, court numbers, any connected cases, associated cases.”

Because of the statute of limitations on evidence, Clingman and her colleagues at the police department are responsible for frequently purging old evidence as new evidence comes in.

“We need to know all the information before we determine whether we need to save evidence or dispose of it,” said Clingman. “Information from body-worn cameras is so important for ensuring incident times are in our records system.”

“Through our records system, we can find out when an incident happened, where it happened, what time it happened and by which officer,” Clingman mentioned.

However, there are instances where Clingman has to do a little digging to ensure all of the information on the record is complete.

“If you’re watching body camera footage and aren’t sure what the incident is, if you catch an address in the body cam, you can just plug in that address to find the record,” shared Clingman. “Or, if they say a name, I can look up the subject in the subject tab, in that incident report, and find out which incident it is that way."

Thanks to the records management system’s robust search capabilities, Clingman can ensure evidence is properly cared for.

“It’s like Nancy Drew, and records gives me the tools to plug in all my clues to figure out what the case is,” said Clingman.

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