APD vehicles adding video surveillance, GPS equipment - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

APD vehicles adding video surveillance, GPS equipment

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ATLANTA -

Police commanders in Atlanta are getting a new tool that will enable them to check every move their officers make.

Supervisors believe the new equipment will increase productivity and decrease confrontations with the public.

Vehicles will come equipped with internal video surveillance, a camera and a microphone as well as enhanced GPS.

"It will help us with calls for service. When they're answering a call, we'll be able to tell how long it took to get to the call. We'll be able to see what time they actually arrive on the call. We will be able to see video from the call," said Major Joe Spillane

Police watchdog group CopWatch, which videotapes encounters police has with citizens, said it's skeptical of the program. The group has received a settlement after the video was deleted by police.

"We have seen that police officers are willing to seize cameras of civilians, delete footage,  and so I think we have to ask if the police are willing to seize and destroy our footage, why would they behave any differently with cameras that they control," said Marlon Kautz of CopWatch.

Spillane said the equipment is intended for more than just confrontations between officers and citizens. He pointed out that the camera can show authorities where an officer is at during an emergency. He also said that the technology can be used to improve neighborhood patrols.  

The program should be up and running about 90 days.

The Atlanta Police Department is modeling its new system after the police department in Marietta, which already has the equipment in all of its cars.

Attorney Dan Grossman, who has handled several cases involving Atlanta police, said he thinks the system is a step in the right direction.

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