Policing During COVID-19: Tips to Protect Your Officers

on Apr 16, 2020

Being a police officer is a dangerous job. But like other professions that are essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, police departments are trying to navigate the difficult task of keeping employees safe while still performing the job at hand.

Social distancing, practicing proper hygiene and performing extensive workplace cleansing are all things those who are still working are directed to adhere to.

But police officers are put in unique situations in their day-to-day work that can put them at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection. So what are some of the extra steps police officers can take to protect themselves and those around them – especially in regards to safely handling equipment like body-worn cameras and managing video?

Let’s take a look at some simple steps you can take:

Limit Trips to the Station

No matter what you do or where you live, everyone is trying to limit travel between locations to avoid an increased potential for exposure and virus spread.

But how can police officers limit and possibly even eliminate having to make trips back to the station? One way to do that is to ensure all of your officers can upload video remotely from their in-car video systems and body-worn cameras.

Policing during the COVID-19 pandemic has forced police departments to find new ways to keep officers safe while still working in the community. (Stock photo)

Some in-car video systems and body-worn cameras allow officers to remotely upload video directly to the cloud. This can be done either with a hard-wired connection in the vehicle or with a cellular hotspot to send the data out – either connecting directly through the in-car video system or through integration with the mobile data computer in the vehicle.

If there is no way to upload videos remotely due to no Internet connection in the vehicle, wirelessly transferring files is still possible. Some vendors offer the ability for their in-car video systems and body-worn cameras to automatically upload video to the station’s storage solution when in range of the station’s Wi-Fi connection.

If you don’t have this feature, be sure to check with your vendor on getting this set up. This way, if you can’t afford to burn through mobile data to remotely upload video from your devices, you can still upload your video without having to enter the station and risk possible virus exposure at the station.

Embrace Software

As everyone looks to keep operations going during this difficult time, working remotely from home is the new normal. But when you’re dealing with managing sensitive information like video evidence, police officers working remotely have to take special precautions to ensure that data is protected.

One piece of technology that can help police officers remotely perform those tasks is some sort of evidence management software. Many video system vendors for law enforcement offer a software application to help officers easily manage video evidence, usually through a cloud-based solution that meets the FBI’s CJIS compliance requirements to ensure the integrity of the evidence.

With software applications like these, officers can securely share video evidence from the comfort of their homes – all without having to enter the station to pull video evidence from a server or CDs. For example, a police officer could use the software on their home computer to securely share video of a D.U.I. stop with a local prosecutor. Without evidence management software, that same police officer would have to go to the station just to pull that video from a computer – unnecessarily putting themselves and others at risk of possible COVID-19 exposure.

If your department is still risking COVID-19 exposure with officers having to enter the station just to get video evidence, it’s time for you to start looking at evidence management software that won’t only keep you officers safer, it will make their jobs easier in the long run when this is all over.

Avoid Sharing Equipment

Just like any other profession that’s still working right now, limiting contact with objects as much as possible is key to staying healthy and stop the potential spread of the virus. For law enforcement, avoiding the sharing of equipment between officers is another step to take to stay safer during this pandemic – especially when it comes to equipment like body-worn cameras.

For larger police departments, some can supply each of their officers with a specific body-worn camera that they don’t have to share with anyone else to limit exposure. This is obviously a great situation as it can limit any potential for officers to spread But for some departments – especially smaller ones – they might have only been able to afford a few body-worn cameras that have to be shared between officers.

If possible, determine if you can find a way to assign a single camera to a single user to limit any increased potential for COVID-19 exposure. This also helps to limit any unnecessary trips into the station to switch cameras between users.

If that’s not possible, try to limit sharing cameras as much as possible and be vigilant in your efforts to disinfect and clean the cameras and all other equipment at the end of each shift.

Want to Keep Your Officers Safe?

Ready to see how Pro-Vision can help you safely keep operations going at your department? Take some time to see how our video recording systems and evidence management software for law enforcement can help your officers easily perform their jobs and stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

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