Makati enforcers now ‘armed’

Close monitoring With their body-worn cameras, traffic enforcers of Makati City, such as the one pictured manning the Buendia-Osmeña Avenue intersection yesterday, will have video footage to support the traffic citation tickets they issue. JOHN HENRY DODSON

The traffic enforcers of Makati City under its Public Safety Department (PSD) can now “shoot back” — not with guns but with the body cameras they had been equipped with by the administration of Mayor Abby Binay.

With many motorists “arming” themselves with dashboard cameras and with almost anyone with a mobile phone capable of posting viral videos” online, the body-worn cameras of Makati’s enforcers tend to equalize the field.

Mayor Binay said the 180 units of cameras the city procured are now fully operational and are being used by on-duty PSD traffic officers.

“Aside from deterring our enforcers from engaging in any form of bribery and corruption, the body-worn cameras will also clearly show whether or not an apprehension has been done correctly,” the mayor pointed out.

Binay said cases of motorists accusing enforcers of abusive behavior can be quickly confirmed or disproved since operators at the command center are able to see exactly what is being seen by their colleagues in the field.

She also cited the system’s potential as a feedback mechanism on the health and safety risks faced by both motorists and PSD personnel, which may eventually be considered in policy-making and in crafting road safety interventions.

The mayor said the provision of body cameras is part of the city government’s thrust to utilize modern tools of technology to enhance efficiency and transparency in its programs and services.

“The city government has invested in high-tech live video recording and wireless transmission equipment for traffic management and related operations of PSD to ensure faster response and prompt action during emergency situations, including road accidents and crimes in progress,” Binay said.

Through the body-worn cameras, the location of traffic officers wearing them can be identified, thus facilitating strategic personnel deployment during critical operations, she noted.

The cameras and wireless transmission system were developed by British company Digital Barriers and is widely used in the UK, USA, and Asia.

Each camera comes with a built-in microphone, at least 32 GB built-in TF memory, and 3G/4G real-time transmission, among other features.

The Makati Command Control and Communications Center (C3) currently serves as the command and monitoring station for traffic-related operations facilitated by the body cameras. The monitoring system is powered by EdgeVis Live, a video transmission platform using technology developed by the said company.

C3 Technical support personnel are in-charge of the live monitoring of the cameras, which allow real-time video streaming from field personnel deployed to various parts of the city. When fully charged, the body-worn cameras can record for up to eight hours straight, according to its specifications.

With user-friendly features, including being able to run on Internet data of local cellular networks, the cameras can be used by traffic officers to signal critical incidents to the C3. By pressing its “streaming alert button,” the wireless device can signal the operator at the command center to view the live footage and take appropriate action.

A dedicated PSD office, on the other hand, houses the docking stations and the web-based storage server of the body cameras.

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