View Full Version : Police car dash cameras

03-01-2006, 12:03 AM
Just a quick question about the front facing cameras the Police use on their patrol cars.

When are they usually running? Are they always on? Manually set? When running code or just when stopped? Or is it dependant on the car, camera, state or county or any number of other factors?

No, I haven't been pulled for anything :) I'm just curious - a guy on another forum got pulled for evading, which was knocked down to reckless driving and I'm just wondering if there would definitely be camera footage of the event to prove or disprove his story.


03-01-2006, 01:52 AM
I think the universal rule of thumb is this: they can be on whenever the officer wants them to be.

Outside that, it depends on the model of the camera, how it's configured, and department policy.

Of the few that are used in cars in my department, they come on automatically whenever you turn on your blue lights. Mine also comes on if you turn your mic on from your belt.

If your friend was chased, it's a safe bet it's all on video. The main purpose of those cameras is to monitor traffic stops.

03-01-2006, 02:05 AM

I didn't say he was a friend, just a guy on motorcycle message board I frequent, I was just wondering what the deal was with dash cams.

He was stopped after a questionable passing move on a dump truck and the Officer said he had been following for some time.

His argument was that he had no idea the cop was behind him, sportsbike mirrors are notoriously crap (I have the same bike and can attest to that, I see mostly my elbows, although I've learned to ride around that) and that he couldn't hear the siren (ok, again I can maybe buy that, at freeway speeds I can't even hear my race baffled exhaust pipes over wind noise).

Personally I think the guy was guilty of some careless riding, but if it happened the way he stated, I don't think a charge of evasion or reckless is warranted, negligence maybe.

Apparently, the officer's vehicle was not even equipped with a camera, which I would guess in these litigious days would be rather surprising?

It looks like it's going to come down to his word against the Officer's.

03-01-2006, 09:55 AM
Well if he was unable to see the officer with his mirrors (which you said is possible) and didn't hear the officer (also possible) I would find him guilty.

It's up to each driver to make sure the conditions to safely navigate the roadway are there. These do include being able to see behind you and hear what's going on around you. If you can't meet these conditions, then you have no business being on the road.

If your friend told me that on scene, I would have been tempted to tow his bike for driving an unsafe vehicle.

Blaming the vehicle for poor driving ability is like saying "but I didn't know the gun was loaded".

03-01-2006, 01:27 PM
Ours come on automatically whenever lightsand/or siren activated. It can be put on manually to, by the officer at his discretion.

03-01-2006, 02:53 PM
Blaming the vehicle for poor driving ability is like saying "but I didn't know the gun was loaded".
Oh I agree completely, that's why I said he probably deserved a negligence charge, but he wasn't actively trying to evade the officer, he was just pre occupied with making the pass on the dump truck (a move I think he could have made better as well).

The simple fact that he stopped as soon as he noticed the officer should be a fair indication that he wasn't actively trying to evade, which I guess is why it got knocked down to reckless.

03-01-2006, 04:29 PM
At first our cams came on when the lights were activated. But now we have complete discretion. We can turn the camera on and off whenever we want and the boss doesn't care if we use them or not (but most of us do

Bigg Dogg
03-08-2006, 12:44 AM
Ours comeone when our main overhead strobes are activated or we can turn them on manually in the car or with the mic.Our unwritten policy is anytime we go to any type of call or any citizen contact.