Who would have thought Body Worn Cameras would be the standard in the everyday changes to the Law Enforcement profession? From body mounted cameras to weapon mounted systems, the bar is already set; most law enforcement agencies have deployed or are in the process of deploying BWC (Body Worn Cameras). Currently, our agency employs the AXON BODY 3. Although there are multiple types of BWC systems on the market, AXON is one of the most advanced devices.

The future is changing. AXON is currently partnering with FLOCK Safety for patrol unit cameras’ license plate reader capabilities through the AXON Fleet 2. In the future, this will be offered on BWC devices. Imagine walking down the street or through a parking lot, and the BWC devices automatically check for wanted, missing, or dangerous subjects just by checking a license plate. There will be an additional cost for this feature and is this type of program wanted or needed by law enforcement agencies? Will officer safety play a concern in the purchase? We will be there before you know it!

The Department of Justice has facial recognition capabilities. Facial recognition may merge with external partners connecting these programs with BWC devices within the next ten years. Imagine a world in Law Enforcement where BWC devices automatically check a subject’s face and vehicle license plates for wanted subjects and missing persons, to name some capabilities. An ongoing search automatically of those types of persons using the BWC device through central records systems at a forefront for officer safety. Just walking up on a traffic stop soon could check vehicle registration and a wanted subject through facial recognition.

The world is changing along with Law Enforcement equipment and capabilities. The future is changing BWC devices. Think of a world where the computer program, instead of a dispatcher, check’s all law enforcement contacts through the BWC device with facial recognition and other systems to check vehicles automatically. This is the future of BWC devices, but people’s privacy will be at the forefront, along with challenges at the state and federal levels as law enforcement systems evolve.

The cost of BWC devices is astronomical. Our agency paid roughly fifty thousand for every ten officers deployed with BWC devices. Can most agencies afford the price for this type of equipment? This is a current challenge and a challenge of the future. Look at ten person agencies compared to one thousand person agencies. Will most agencies proceed in the future with this type of law enforcement analytics, and can they afford them?

In all, the future is changing, and law enforcement agencies are adapting to the trends. The law enforcement community will see a significant change in the next ten years through BWC devices and agencies standards. BWC devices will be required of all agencies in the forthcoming years. They will be at the forefront of community policing, accountability, officer safety, and standard issued equipment issued by all agencies. Look at a world where technology will lead policing into the future for officer safety, but not without challenges in state and federal courts on several amendments to the US constitution. Legal Challenges are already in play, with more anticipated. Just think about record retention currently compared to the year 2030, where law enforcement digitally maintains everything. The law enforcement community needs to be prepared for the future as BWC capabilities evolve. Some are ready for the changes, while others are reserved. Only time will tell with future developments and trends.