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New body cameras explained

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WEST UNION (KWWL) -

An eastern Iowa police department is excited about a new type of body camera.

West Union police officers are now using 'cloud' technology to upload video.

The new Motorola Si500 Video Speaker Microphone has all kinds of features which includes recording video, audio, still images, and it also has Bluetooth capability, which means it works with an integrated microphone without wire.

However, it's where the video goes that really makes the difference.

The new wireless cameras look a lot like cellphones strapped to West Union Police officers' uniforms, and once they're done for the day, all they have to do is press a button on the camera, and it's uploaded to a secure website.

West Union Police Sergeant Mike Tobin says it's pretty quick and easy to upload video from his newer camera to the website, they call View Vault.

Once it's uploaded, it's archived, and it can be reviewed by police administrators within the department from anywhere.

"It's very user-friendly. Right after we record the video, we can go online and view that video instantaneously once it's uploaded to the cloud so to speak. So, that helps with Use of Force complaints and really reviewing it administration-wise," Sergeant Tobin said.

Not only is the video-uploading process streamlined, but there are fewer gadgets for law enforcement to worry about while doing their job, compared to older body cameras.

"The biggest difference is the integration between the radio and the body-worn camera. This one has a fail-safe in it. So, if the radio portion does fail, we do have our big handset we can switch to, and we don't lose that communication with our dispatch center," Sergeant Tobin said.

Law enforcement officers say this new technology is far superior to the older technology that was a lot more cumbersome.

Stand-up video from the story was actually recorded from Sergeant Tobin's body camera and uploaded to the website in a matter of minutes.

"I think that's the big thing with body-worn cams. It's not about us constantly watching what everybody is doing, it's more about the security and safety for all people," Sergeant Tobin said.

According to the West Union Police Chief, not only are community leaders excited about the new technology, but they say it's cost-effective too.

The cameras are free and replaced every three years or so.

However, the police department does have to pay for a subscription to the website where the the video is stored.

The chief says it'll save taxpayers in the long run.

Right now, the West Union Police Department has five of these new cameras, and they've been using them for nearly two months now.

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