In-car cameras are great for documenting what’s in front of a police car, or in the back seat—but the new Panasonic Toughbook Arbitrator 360° in-car digital video system captures much, much more.
Panasonic Arbitrator 360° It can support up to six cameras in one law enforcement vehicle for comprehensive evidence capture.
Its user interface can simultaneously display and record up to five camera feeds, so patrol officers can effortlessly monitor their entire surroundings from the driver’s seat.
Live video streaming capabilities are built in to the Arbitrator 360° as an additional safety feature. Police dispatchers can now monitor what’s happening in each patrol car from headquarters. If an officer is in trouble, such as an altercation during a traffic stop, the dispatcher can remotely zoom the camera for a better picture, or change the frames-per-second bit rate for more details.
One upgrade from the previous Arbitrator version is the supporting software, which was developed and will be maintained by Panasonic to enable complete quality control. Key attributes to the new Arbitrator software include:
Continuity: The consistent front- and back-end software interface makes it incredibly simple for users to monitor, record and access saved videos – all with minimal training. The software is also backward-compatible with older hardware.
Remote Management: The system can update vehicle settings, vehicle software and client software all from the administrator console, eliminating the need to adjust settings in each vehicle manually.
Virtual Case Files: The system can manage all types of digital evidence, ensuring a secure and auditable data source with every image and video file retrievable through a simple case number search.
The process of recording, transferring and storing all video evidence with the Arbitrator 360° is fully automated, with video evidence is constantly being cached. Once the record button is pressed, either manually or through a designated trigger, the 90 seconds of video preceding it are automatically included to ensure all evidence is captured. Agencies can activate up to 16 triggers to start the recording, such as when the speedometer hits a certain speed, the sirens turn on, car doors open or impact is detected.
A digital wireless microphone is included. It features a line-of-sight range of up to 1,000 feet. Buttons on the device can trigger the in-car camera to start recording, or mute the audio.
“The Arbitrator 360° provides police departments with the most all-encompassing and effective tool for gathering evidence, while also protecting officers and keeping their focus on police work,” said Greg Peratt, director of digital video products at Panasonic Computer Solutions Company. “The system is fully customizable to each individual agency’s needs, and offers dependable protection of video evidence from cuffs to court.”
The Arbitrator 360° uses Panasonic solid-state high-capacity SD Memory Cards (SDHC). With four SDHC slots and up to 32 GB of memory on each card, the Arbitrator 360° has four times more storage capacity than the previous version. The camera uses H.264 standard video compression, recording higher-quality images on about half the storage space of MPEG-2 standards.
The media files stored on Panasonic memory cards are proprietary and secure, so evidence can’t be changed or distributed without proper permissions. Videos can be transferred directly from patrol cars to police station servers, using wireless Internet hotspots, so officers never need to handle the evidence.
Once video is saved on the server, it becomes easily searchable by categories such as incident, car number, officer name or time of day, with permissions settings and an access record to protect the chain of evidence. Because events captured on the Arbitrator 360° have varying levels of importance, agencies are also able to easily categorize videos by type of incident, and apply different standards to how long each is stored. For example, all hit-and-runs can be automatically stored for two years while speeding infractions are kept for six months, accommodating each agency’s retention policies and statute of limitations.
“The Toughbook Arbitrator 360° has given us a true end-to-end solution for not just recording video, but storing, organizing and accessing video, as well,” said Sgt. Todd Beam Lincoln (Neb.) Police Department. “In addition, we quickly realized the benefits of deploying multiple in-car cameras by disproving an internal affairs complaint using evidence captured on a rear-facing camera. From our perspective, a room full of DVDs is no better than a room full of VHS tapes, so the ability to manage and transfer all video evidence digitally is a huge bonus. Our patrol officers found the Arbitrator 360° software interface very easy to use, and were up and running with very minimal training. We value the long-term presence and stability Panasonic has demonstrated in public safety.”
Click here to see a video of how the Lincoln Police have been using the Arbitrator 360°.
Panasonic will provide a series of Webinar tutorials for existing Arbitrator customers interested in installing the new software. To register, call Chris Buckley at (877) 826-6539.
And click here for Government Video's take on how the North Dakota Highway Patrol has made use of the earlier incarnations of the Arbitrator.