Makati goes high-tech

November 20, 2018
Abby Binay
Abby Binay

MAKATI Mayor Abby Binay yesterday said the 180 units of body-worn cameras are now fully operational and are being used by traffic officers of the city Public Safety Department (PSD) who are on duty.

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,” Mayor Abby 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 body-worn camera and wireless transmission system was 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.

“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,” Mayor Abby pointed out.

The mayor noted that 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 on 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 can eventually be considered in policy-making and crafting of road safety interventions.

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 world-class technology developed by the British company.

C3 Technical support personnel are in-charge of the live monitoring of the cameras, which allows real-time video streaming of the body cameras worn by 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. Once the body camera is returned to the docking station, recorded videos are automatically downloaded to the Video Vault, a secure web-based evidence management system which allows authorized operators to manage, edit, and share footage through any computer, smartphone or tablet device.

According to Digital Barriers Support engineer Noel Mangalindan, the online vault has an eight-terabyte capacity and can store five-day straight recording of the 180 body camera units.

The cameras, securely attached to the docking stations, can only be pulled out through tapping an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) card. The RFID cards can accommodate a number of registered traffic officers, and will be recorded at the PSD docking station.