Wearable cameras and personal alarms proving their worth
It’s been almost a year since Council issued wearable video cameras and Guardian Angel personal alarms to their Animal Control Officers.
At the time Chief Executive Blair King said the purpose of the cameras and alarms was to improve staff safety in what can sometimes be challenging circumstances. While incidents of serious abuse of officers are rare, it was hoped the camera would act as a deterrent if such a situation arose.
The camera is attached to the front of the officer’s uniform when they are on patrol. A badge is worn so the public can easily identify that the officer is wearing a camera, and there is a screen on the front of the device that shows exactly what is being recorded.
Usually the camera is switched off, unless the officer is performing an enforcement action, or feels they may be at risk of physical or verbal abuse.
The Guardian Angel personal alarms were issued to enhance the safety of those using them, and are particularly useful for anyone working alone or in an isolated spot. Connected to a 24/7 monitoring service, if the alarm is activated the monitoring service will immediately notify Police an event has occurred and the location of the alarm.
With the ability to operate in and out of cell phone coverage the alarms also act as a personal location beacon.
Team Leader Animal Control, Kevin Jensen, says both devices have added a sense of security to officers when they are out on the job, and have been useful in helping defuse situations that had the potential to become confrontational. They also ensure officer’s act in a polite and professional manner at all times.