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Arab Police officers are using new equipment aimed to make transparency easier to achieve

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ARAB, Ala. -- Some Arab Police officers are using a new piece of equipment that gives them an easier way to be transparent. The goal is to eventually use the technology department-wide.

"The system is called WatchGuard, and one of the key factors that got us looking at it was if you initialize your in-car camera, you activate your blue lights, red lights, emergency lights, your body camera automatically comes on as well so it's in sync with your car camera," explained Arab Police Chief Ed Ralston.

Ralston added that technology takes one more thing off of the officer's mind. "It takes away the issue of forgetting to turn your body camera on if it's an emergency situation or something like that."

The base system is mounted in the patrol car and can detect a number of things, like speed, while the officer is in motion. "Some of the other things, it allowed us to transfer things wirelessly," Ralston said. The videos are stored on a server inside the police department.

The bundled system, which includes the in-car camera, extra cameras, and the body camera costs a little more than $6,400 per unit. The department is also getting several new vehicles that will be equipped with the technology.

Last year the department got a grant that kick-started the drive for this new technology. The goal is to eventually get one for each officer.

"People want to see what is going on," Ralston said. "They want to hold us accountable, but at the same time we want to hold them accountable, because we don't want those complaints or those accusations to come in when they're not true, because we see a lot of that today. We hope to clear up any of that, make it safer for us, make it safer for the citizen."