5 wearable tech trends for COs
Off-the-shelf wearable technologies connect COs to data.
A wired corrections officer may seem like science fiction. But next-generation corrections communications and wearable technologies now let officers transmit and receive multimedia data in order to improve situational awareness and field decision making. Here are five wearable technologies soon to be or currently on the market that show promise for correctional applications.
While not yet commercially available, Google Glass has great potential for corrections officers. Glass could be used during a cell tour to give a CO information on the history of an inmate or to offer the location of the nearest source of help during an altercation. Because of its video capability, Glass also has the potential to allow correctional supervisors to view a riot or fight from the perspective of a CO, providing them with situational awareness data for better decision making and resource management. The captured Glass video can be transmitted by Bluetooth to an iPhone or Android device and streamed to officials either nearby or at the emergency operations center. Any video captured can later be used for training purposes.
Motorola’s HC1 and Connected Officer
Motorola Solutions currently offers the HC1 headset computer, a hands-free wearable computer that can be used in harsh environments or remote locations, where access to graphical data or text is needed and using a laptop or handheld device is impractical. It has a micro-display equivalent to that of a virtual 15-inch screen, advanced voice recognition, head gesture controls and video streaming to navigate applications or view documents and building schematics – providing users with hands-free convenience to handle multiple tasks. The company also is working on a “connected law enforcement officer of the future” system, expected to boast a set of glasses with an integrated display for access to camera feeds, so an officer potentially can see around corners without having to be exposed to an ambush. A camera built into a speaker microphone records and then streams live video to share incident data, while environmental and bio-monitoring sensors worn on the officer can provide information about hazardous situations.
TASER’s AXON line of wearable video cameras can be mounted on corrections or probation officers eyewear, ball cap, collar, helmet, epaulette, or body. The cameras have a 12-hour battery life and are configured to record in low light. AXON Body is an ultra-durable on-officer camera designed to provide 130-degree wide-angle lens video capture. It clips on to the body while its counterpart, the AXON Flex, clips on to glasses. The wearable techs offer a pre-event video buffer that may reduce complaints and lawsuits when actions leading up to incidents are recorded. This can protect officers and citizens. In addition, video can be stored remotely on TASER’s Evidence.com service, which can process and handle an influx of data for later viewing.
Samsung Galaxy Gear
Smartwatches are wrist-worn computers that look like a watch and truly are one of the hottest trends in consumer technology. Samsung offers the Galaxy Gear that links up with Samsung's Galaxy smartphones and tablets. The device lets users know when they receive a call, text message or e-mail—all of which can assist with field communications. The company steps it up a notch with the new Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, which have a heart rate sensor, a pedometer and various tools to measure exercise, sleep and stress levels able to measure the health of an officer. A bonus feature is a low-resolution, 2-megapixel camera on the main body, so users can point their wrist and shoot video and photos. Video can provide additional situational awareness and later be used for evidence or training purposes.
Body-worn cameras are becoming part of the law-enforcement uniform in order to safeguard corrections officers from liability as well as to provide multimedia evidence. The VIEVU’s new LE3 is a secure, HD video camera designed specifically for law enforcement use. It is a lightweight, self-contained video recorder about the size of a pager that can be worn on the uniform. The wearable camera can protect the rights of officers and inmates or used for training, as incidents are recorded for later viewing and shared over the cloud using the company’s secure VERIPATROL software. All video evidence also can be stored locally, such as on a laptop.
Look for wearable technologies to become more prevalent in the marketplace, opening myriad opportunities for law enforcement to increase situational awareness for corrections officers.