For Immediate Release
DHS Science & Technology Press Office
Contact: John Verrico, (202) 254-2385
WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has awarded a 16-month project for $441,706 to Hitron Technologies, Inc., based in Lexington, Kentucky, to develop an automated activation system for body-worn cameras for law enforcement. In fall 2015, DHS S&T’s First Responders Group (FRG) requested proposals from vendors with rapid technology solutions to help solve critical first responder capability gaps. This is the first of several awards that FRG will announce in coming weeks and months.
“One of S&T’s top priorities is to provide innovative tools and technologies to enhance the effectiveness and safety of our first responders so they are better equipped to protect our citizens and our communities,” said Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Reginald Brothers. “Partnering with industry and building off of cutting-edge communications technologies will allow us to take existing video tools to the next level to strengthen security and transparency.”
Once designed, the system will feature individual sensors that will use short-range radio signals to activate a responder’s body-worn camera automatically in response to certain critical events: upon the removal of an officer's weapon from its holster; upon exit from their vehicle; upon recognition of elevated voice or sound levels; or upon detection of elevated physical stress. The system will also allow remote activation (perhaps by dispatch or incident command) via common smartphones. The goal: ensure camera activation even in unusual circumstances when video data is often the most necessary.
“We initiated this solicitation because responders themselves told us that there is a growing need for this technology,” said FRG Program Manager Milt Nenneman. “Our First Responder Resource Group — an advisory group made up of all disciplines from all geographic regions of the country — identified this as one of their highest-priority capability gaps, and we listened. We look forward to working with Hitron to bring this solution to our partners in law enforcement.”