Bulky Dash Cams, a Thing of the Past

In-car camera footage has come a long way from the grainy, narrow field-of-view images produced by the large dash cameras in the late 1980s and 90s. Today, agencies are looking for small cameras with wide views which capture clear, high definition footage from the front and rear of the vehicle and Getac Video Solutions has three in-car cameras that do all that and more.

History of In-Car Cameras

In-car cameras became a part of policing in the 1980s when new technology in the form of VHS tapes allowed law enforcement to record field sobriety tests to crack down on drinking and driving.

In the 1990s, the War on Drugs changed the focus of law enforcement and in-car cameras were used to document stops and vehicle searches. As the decade progressed, the focus changed again. The cameras were used to capture police and civilian interactions to unbiasedly document the reported increase in racial bias, racial profiling and officer assaults.

By the early 2000s, in-car cameras were recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice as an essential technology in policing. As a result,  the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) started an In-Car Camera Initiative Program which gave millions of dollars to agencies to purchase in-car cameras. That initiative exponentially increased the number of agencies with in-car cameras and made them a staple in policing.

Smaller Footprint, Wider View

However, as the decades have passed, the technology has significantly improved and bulky dash cams of the past aren’t what agencies want.

Kaleb McDaniel,  Getac Video Solutions Lead Solutions Architect (SA) recently spoke about the shifting trends with in-car cameras. “Agencies want smaller cameras with a wider view,” he said. “The in-car trend is moving towards a wider-angle, fixed focus camera style with a smaller footprint.”

The reason for the change is officers don’t want a big camera interfering with their view out the windshield, especially when front cabins in modern police vehicles seem to be getting smaller and smaller, according to McDaniel.

“They want to make sure they don’t have large bulky equipment interfering,” said McDaniel. “We took that feedback from previous years of camera deployments and we have joined the movement to reduce the size of cameras to accommodate that desire to have smaller cameras in the smaller cabins.”

ZeroDark™ HD Cameras: Getac Video’s In-Car Camera Solutions

Getac Video has three in-car cameras for agencies to choose from, each with a microphone port for audio capturing and each able to capture video footage in 480p-1080p.

While many agencies continue to request wider angle cameras, McDaniel shared a significant drawback to wide field of view cameras. “As you continue to get wider and wider, you lose your depth perception,” he said. But Getac Video has a solution.

“Our [VR-X20] DVR has so much power it can support both the wide-angle camera and the narrow,” McDaniel said. “We have an option where agencies can purchase both and either have them stacked on top of each other or installed side by side so they can have the wide view to capture more in front of the vehicle and have the narrow to capture more detail and depth away from the vehicle.”

The VR-X20, powered by Intel core processors, also allows the in-car cameras to quickly and automatically switch from daytime to nighttime or to capture low-light situations.

If agencies are looking to use infrared for the front-facing cameras, Getac Video has sensors which can support that, too. This feature requires infrared light shining from the front of the vehicle to allow the camera to capture footage in low or no-light scenarios.

Getac Video Solutions is proud to help serve you while you serve others. Contact us today to learn more about our ZeroDark™ HD Camera series.