In the United States, police officers are required to keep their car dash cameras running during traffic stops. These recordings are meant to document interactions between law enforcement and motorists, but they also capture videos of citizens with no criminal intent. The dashcam videos can be used as evidence in court cases or to determine if an officer has violated department policies.
This article will discuss when and for how long these police video recordings should be kept just in case there is a need or use for them beyond these two purposes.
What is a dashcam?
A dashcam or dashboard camera is a device that is installed in police cars or other vehicles to minimize or eliminate the chances that a video recording will be lost.
These devices record both motion and still images, allowing the police officer to capture video footage of events that would otherwise be unrecorded. The recordings can help to prevent false accusations against officers who are accused of misconduct, but they also provide a way for law enforcement to document their actions so that they can be subject to an internal investigation if necessary.
Working of a Dashcam
The dashcam can be considered one of the most advanced video recording devices in the world. They use three different types of technology that are currently available, including a high-quality wide-angle lens, integrated GPS to record speed info, and advanced H.264 video compression. This not only provides clear images and sound but also improves the overall picture quality and ensures that the device has enough storage space for when it is needed.
This particular technology has been around for quite some time. It was first created because of the fears that police might capture a bad image when recording an event. Even though this is not necessarily the case, the technology is still used to preserve recordings of events that make it possible to avoid problems with documentation and retrieval.
The basic idea behind dashcams is to record images and sound as soon as they happen so that it will be possible to use them in court or for other purposes later on. The same goes for recordings of events that might otherwise be lost because the device has a memory limitation.
How Long Should Police Dashcam Videos Be Kept?
Officers should keep their car dash cameras running as long as they are on duty and in their own vehicles. The dash camera video can be useful in cases of possible misconduct by the officer, but it can also help in cases of the possible use of excessive force by the officer. The department policy on retention varies from department to department, but generally speaking, it is conceivable that these police video recordings would not be erased once all evidence has been compiled.
The policy may allow the department to erase the video recordings to save space on the hard drive, but only after a certain amount of time has passed. For example, if the department records for a period of one week and erases them every Friday, dashcam videos are likely erased after 30 days. This is especially true if there are dashcam videos from many previous months or years that have not been erased yet.
A dashcam video can be erased after a certain amount of time has passed so that more space is available for new footage. However, it is possible to request the dashcam video to use it as evidence in a case or investigation. The length of time that a dashcam video should be kept reflects the need to maintain trust and transparency among the law enforcement community and the general public that they serve.
Advantages of Dashcams
1) Dashcam videos are a great tool for law enforcement because they are likely to be erased after a certain amount of time unless they are actively protected. For example, when officers erase them because new videos have been recorded over them, it is possible to save those recordings elsewhere and use them for future investigations or evidence.
2) On the other hand, these videos can be a great tool for proving that an officer did not commit any wrongdoing. They can prove that the officer has done everything right in their job description, and this is the reason that they were able to be on duty at all times.
3) The technology behind a dashcam is very helpful in cases that require sensitive or confidential evidence. It allows an outside agency to investigate and review the evidence without fear that it will end up on YouTube or other social media sites.
4) These dashcam videos can also provide a way for departments to make more informed decisions about how to deal with certain situations. For example, it is possible to see how a particular officer has handled similar situations and how that has affected the outcome.
5) Some departments may use dashcam videos as part of an internal investigation when an officer is accused of misconduct. This can be very helpful in cases where the person who files the complaint wants to make up false evidence or statements about what happened to defame someone else or seek revenge.
6) The videos that are recorded by dashcams are very easy to duplicate and share online. This is especially true when the recording is part of a high-profile or controversial investigation.
Disadvantages of Dashcams
The biggest disadvantage with dashcam videos is that they tend to become blurred or pixelated over time. This is especially true if the officer was not a good driver and did not take care of the camera properly when they were in the car. It is best for them to store these videos on removable media and not on their own hard drive so that they do not get damaged.
Features Every Dashcam Must Have
Dashcam technology has come a long way in the past decade. As such, dashcams today have evolved from simple video cameras into advanced devices that include GPS navigation, sensors, and multiple video recording modes. When you research dashcams, be sure to look for a camera that has these features.
Electronic Fused AGPS
The Electronic Fused AGPS allows your vehicle’s engine to communicate with the dashcam. This means that when you start your car and remove the key from the ignition, the dashcam will activate automatically. If someone bumps your vehicle in the parking lot, this type of dashcam can save video of where they were located when they bumped it.
Parking Mode is great if you want a dashcam that automatically keeps a record of your vehicle’s movement. In this mode, the camera stays on, even when the car is off. Some dash cams are designed to the only record into parking mode when it detects motion or impacts in the car.
Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
If you are concerned about people changing lanes without a signal, a lane departure warning can let you know when that happens. When the dashcam detects lane departure, it will send a notification to your smartphone and automatically start recording.
If you want a dashcam that can record GPS coordinates and speed, look for one with GPS technology. Some dash cams are designed to record at night using infrared lights, but some come with GPS built-in. This allows you to track your vehicle’s location at all times on a map or in real-time.
If you have a dashcam with GPS, you can use it for tracking your vehicle’s location and speed. You can also use a dashcam’s playback feature to see what happened in the past. With this feature, you can replay videos on a computer or an external device such as a smartphone. Some dashcams have voice control functionality that allows you to record over video by saying “OK Dash Cam”.
Some dashcams have sensors built into them that detect weather events, make sure the steering wheel is in the right position, and allow you to store all your footage on an external device. Some dash cams also have features designed to alert you when they’re in an accident or if a tire is low. Of course, some dashcams attach directly to your front or rearview mirrors. Others come with a suction cup and work with windshields or windshield wipers.
Things To Look For When Buying A Dashcam
1) The video quality of the dashcam should be as high as possible. The image should be clear and not distorted, and it should also have enough resolution to be able to tell what is happening.
This is especially true if the footage is being used for an investigation or during court proceedings. For example, the picture on a malfunctioning dashcam can make it hard to identify what happened at all and when it happened.
2) On the other hand, the audio quality should be as good as possible. One way to accomplish this is to use a higher recording bit rate so that it is possible for people outside of the vehicle to be able to hear what is being recorded. The device should also have an automatic gain control that allows it to adjust automatically and give a proper sound quality without distortion.
3) The dashcam should have a very long battery life so that there is enough time to record a video before it needs to be plugged into the vehicle. This would eliminate the need for officers to have to keep their cameras going even when they are not in the car or on duty.
4) It is also important that all cameras on a particular vehicle are able to record simultaneously. This would prevent officers from slowing down to make a video or having to wait for the camera to record.
5) It is also possible to get a dashcam that can be controlled wirelessly with an app. This would allow officers to record without taking their hands off of the steering wheel, but it is not recommended unless the officer does not need to do anything while they are driving.
6) Some dashcams can also be used for recording outside of the vehicle, such as recording the scene of a crime or investigation. There are a few options for this. One option is to use the same device that is used to record from inside the vehicle, but this can be very expensive.
7) Another option is to buy a separate device for recording outside of the car at an affordable price. This could include a motion-activated camera that records when someone passes by, but not when there is nothing going on.
8) It is also possible to get a dashcam that can record both inside and outside of the car. These are usually installed on the windshield, and they record everything that is in front of the vehicle. It may not be possible to install these types of cameras on all vehicles, so it is best to purchase a device that does not require any other attachments or modifications.
9) Another option is for officers to use a wearable camera such as a body camera or helmet camera. These devices can be worn by the officer and even provide audio and video of what they see. These cameras are usually easy to wear, but they may have shorter battery life.
10) Another consideration is what kind of storage will be used for the video files. There are a few options here. One option is to use removable media like SD cards, USB drives, or even memory cards that plug into the SD card reader on the dashcam.
Top Dashcam Brands
1) BlackVue DR3500-FHD DashCam
The BlackVue DR350 is a small, lightweight dashcam capable of delivering clear 1080p video and WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) capabilities. It is equipped with a 12-megapixel Sony Exmor R CMOS sensor with an F/2.0 lens and comes with an included dual-lens Wi-Fi device that allows the driver to stream footage to up to eight devices. The camera is durable, shockproof, dustproof, and temperature resistant, due to its IP67 rating.
This camera has a great sensitivity to light and it even manages to capture license plates (of cars that come into your view) with a lot of accuracies. The downside is that while the camera is quick on the draw, it doesn’t have very good battery life. Also, the camera doesn’t save a copy of the footage to the memory card, so if your Wi-Fi device dies you can’t access the video footage.
The BlackVue DR3500-FHD is a great dashcam for surveillance. Not only can it record clean 1080p video at 60 fps, but it can also capture car number plates and faces very well with little light. If you want a dashcam that records your surroundings accurately, this is it.
2) BlackVue DR750S-1CH Dashcam
If you are looking for a dashcam meant for recording the whole road, you’ll want to check out the BlackVue DR750S. This camera records at a resolution of 1440p @30 fps (which is perfect), has infrared night vision and offers 360º rotation with a G-sensor (to protect your files from being overwritten in case of an impact). The BlackVue DR750S-1CH is not only small and light, but it’s also dustproof, waterproof, and even shockproof. We had no problem running over the side of a bridge with the camera mounted on our car, which resulted in a great video.
When it comes to living streaming on your smartphone or PC, the BlackVue DR750S is quite easy to use as you just plug in your smartphone or PC into the camera’s HDMI cable and playback videos. The downside is that the camera can be a bit expensive, but it does deliver one of the best video quality in its class.
3) Thinkware F800 Dashcam
The Thinkware F800 is a great dashcam for anyone looking to record good videos at night. It uses Sony’s new Exmor CMOS sensors and an F/1.8 glass lens to capture good video quality both during the day and at night time. The F800 records at 1440p @15 fps and can be plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter to get power. Thinkware includes a 16GB microSD card with the F800, but you will need two if you want continuous loop recording.
The F800 features a 170-degree wide-angle lens and is equipped with WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) capabilities to ensure high-quality footage in low light conditions. While its video quality is good, the F800 lacks GPS. Also, it uses a Mini USB port for power, and some people may find an extra cord cluttering up their car’s dashboard.
4) Garmin Dash Cam 35 DashCam
The Garmin Dash Cam 35 records 1080p @30 fps video and feature smart camera capabilities including lane departure warning and forward collision warning. All of these alerts appear on the camera’s built-in 4.3″ screen when driving at low speeds. You will need a 16GB microSD card to record video, and two 32GB cards if you want continuous loop recording.
The Garmin Dash Cam 35 is very small and lightweight, making it easy to install. Other than its 1080p video quality, the best part about this camera is that it offers 24-hour battery life when plugged into a 12V power adapter. Also, voice control allows you to access and adjust features without taking your eyes off the road.
5) Garmin Dash Cam 20 DashCam
The Garmin Dash Cam 20 is a favorite among many dashcam users due to its small size (it’s about 1” in thickness). It comes with 4 microSD card slots and records 1080p @30 fps video. To keep the lens clean, this camera has automatic lens protection. It also has Garmin’s Pre-Enforced Lockout feature that locks the camera if it detects the car being bumped or dropped. The 20 is known for its reliability and can record for up to two hours with no power.
The downside to this camera is that it doesn’t have GPS, which leaves you with a basic backup solution for your car. Its built-in battery is also not replaceable, so you’re forced to buy a new camera if the battery dies.
6) Thinkware F700 DashCam
The Thinkware F700 is a good dashcam for those looking to record good video quality during the night. The 1080p @30 fps video quality at daytime is up to par too. It has a 170-degree wide-angle lens and uses WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) capabilities to ensure high-quality footage in low light conditions. The Thinkware F700 comes with a 32GB microSD card and offers loop recording to ensure your camera can record continuously without running out of space.
If you are looking for an easy dashcam to configure, the Thinkware F700 is a good choice. It has voice control to make it easier for you to access and adjust the features without taking your eyes off the road. The downside, however, is that this dashcam doesn’t have GPS, and voice control can be temperamental at times.
7) BlackVue DR650S-2CH DashCam
If you are looking for a dashcam with GPS and a camera wide enough to capture license plates at night, the BlackVue DR650S is exactly what you need. This camera records at 1080p @30 fps (which is great) and has dual-lens, Smart Night Vision with slow-motion technology. This means that the night vision feature can record up to 4 times faster than standard night vision cameras.
The DR650S-2CH has a built-in GPS, so you can track your vehicle’s location and speed at all times. It also has Parking Alert and Safety System, which automatically activates when the car is parked. The downside of the DR650S is that it doesn’t have an external SD card slot so you are limited to recording video onto its memory card.
8) BlackVue DR550S-2CH DashCam
If you want a dashcam with GPS and a camera wide enough to capture license plates at night, the BlackVue DR550S is exactly what you need. This camera records at 1080p @30 fps (which is great) and has dual-lens, Smart Night Vision with slow-motion technology. This means that the night vision feature can record up to 4 times faster than standard night vision cameras.
The DR550S-2CH has a built-in GPS, so you can track your vehicle’s location and speed at all times. It also has Parking Alert and Safety System, which automatically activates when the car is parked. The downside of the DR550S is that it doesn’t have an external SD card slot so you are limited to recording video onto its memory card.
9) Reolink Argus 2 DashCam
This dashcam features a 170-degree wide-angle lens and records video at 1080p @30 fps. The best part is that it comes with two cameras, so you can record your front and back. It also has a built-in GPS, so you can track your vehicle’s location and speed at all times. Another good thing about the Reolink Argus 2 is that it has excellent nighttime vision capabilities thanks to its 6 infrared lights.
The downside to this camera is that it doesn’t have an external SD card slot so you are limited to recording video onto its memory card. In addition, while the Argus 2 is equipped with GPS, it doesn’t provide alerts like other brands. If you want a good dashcam for tracking your vehicle’s location and speed, the Reolink Argus 2 is a good choice.
10) Z-Edge Z3 Mini Dash Cam
The Z-Edge Z3 is a compact dashcam that has excellent night vision (thanks to its 5 infrared lights). It records 1080p video at 30 fps and is equipped with a 170-degree wide-angle lens. The best part about this camera is that it’s super small, making it easy to install.
The Z3 doesn’t come with GPS, and some people may find its Mini USB port hard to reach when driving. It also doesn’t have an external SD card slot and requires a memory card to work.
The length of time that a dashcam video is kept reflects the importance of maintaining trust and transparency among law enforcement officers and the public. The policy also reflects the need to maintain these principles to increase public safety and reduce crime. Keeping the police dashcam videos for a period of one week is not long enough for most departments while keeping them for one year or more does not offer enough space for new video recordings.