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How an In-Car Camera Increases Situational Awareness

There are plenty of reasons to purchase an in-car video system — evidence, training, liability, officer accountability and government mandate, to name a few. And with the upcoming launch of Fleet 3, Axon is adding situational awareness to the list.

The Fleet 3 in-car video system integrates audio, video, streaming and automated license plate recognition (ALPR) technology into a single solution that improves situational awareness to help officers stay safe.


Livestreaming is lifesaving


Fleet 3’s integration with Axon Respond for Devices' real-time technology is what makes it a powerful situational awareness tool.

“With Fleet 3 and Respond, a dispatcher or supervisor has the ability to turn on live streaming in a vehicle any time the vehicle is running,” says Blake Bullock, director, Fleet Products. “So let’s say there’s a report of gunfire or an officer is in a scuffle and can’t really talk to dispatch. The dispatcher or supervisor can see what’s going on and immediately decide what kind of resources to send.” 

The livestream capability is useful in proactive situations, as well.

“If you have a big event going on, being able to livestream from different vantage points helps the security leaders to be able to monitor what’s going on and send help where it’s needed,” Bullock says. “Take the Boston Marathon bombing or the Las Vegas shooting; imagine if central dispatchers had more eyes in real time. They could have been able to get the help where it was needed more quickly.”


ALPR and officer safety


Fleet 3 also enables agencies to equip every car in a fleet with ALPR, which eliminates a manual workflow that prevents officers from keeping their eyes on the road while driving.

“Officers are constantly running plates,” says Josh Pepper, vice president, Product Management. “And every time, they take their eyes off the road.”

If it takes 30 seconds for an officer to decipher a plate number, navigate to the appropriate computer window, type in the plate number and read the results, it would take 15 minutes to run just 30 plates. That’s 15 minutes that the officer isn’t fully focused on the driving environment. Translate that into miles and it’s easy to see how manually running plates can inhibit an officer’s ability to stay aware on the road.

“It would not shock me if officers are driving 20 miles a day not looking at the road because of this distraction,” Pepper says.

Fleet 3’s built-in ALPR makes manual plate entry all but obsolete. That means officers can pay attention to the road and their surroundings, ensuring not only their own safety but the safety of citizens.


Reliable location updates


When it comes to getting those resources to where they’re needed, Fleet 3 in-car cameras provide real-time location updates to Respond just like the Axon Body 3 cameras. That makes it possible to see exactly where your department’s officers and vehicles are at all times; no more vehicle icons disappearing entirely when a signal is lost.

“Our system uses satellite signals along with an inertial measurement unit to determine the relative motion of the car even if signals are blocked from the satellite,” Bullock says. “What that means is if you go in a tunnel or a parking garage, the system will still know where it is. In those scenarios, the dispatcher will always be able to see where the vehicle is on the map.”

When deployed together, Fleet 3, Body 3 and Respond give dispatchers a much more detailed picture of what’s going on in the field — including up-close interactions captured by the body cameras and the broad context of the scene captured by the in-car system. The result is increased situational awareness, which is essential to positive outcomes.

“The dispatcher’s job is to be the bird’s-eye view of the scene and keep that officer safe,” Pepper says. “In a sense, they are an officer’s first backup. It’s our job to equip them with the best tools possible to protect lives.”


Get updates in real time


With Axon Fleet 3 integrated with Axon Respond for Devices, you can get real-time updates that help you make decisions that keep officers and citizens safe. Contact Axon to learn more about the capabilities of Fleet 3.