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American COP Sept/Oct 2010 - Page 46

Panasonic’s Jim Donahue arbitratOr 360 ˚ six Camera extravaganza So, you could have the customary front camera. The second could be covering the back seat and have its own microphone for recording suspects. Another could be for automated license plate recognition (ALPR), but you’d need other software to run an ALPR system. The Arbitrator system is about handling all of the cameras in the car using one piece of control gear. All six cameras can be integrated onto a single screen on your mobile computer and can be watched on a splitscreen basis or individually. There’s less gear in the car to threaten the officer’s well being. The Arbitrator 360° will work with any computer system in your car. And while Panasonic has just introduced their new Toughbook-31, it’s not mandatory you buy them to run the system. Having a touch screen however, does make using the system much easier. M any manufacturers use splashy advertising campaigns to catch your eye — they hire PR firms to sell the sizzle. In fact, the Super Bowl is now watched almost as much for the ads as it is for the game itself. So what’s behind the sales jargon? Is it the lady or the tiger? I recently looked into the Panasonic Arbitrator 360°. Their ads highlight how their system supports up to six different video cameras in one car and recording from all of them at the same time. At first I thought, “Who needs it?” But while I’ve never heard a cop say something like, “If only we’d had cameras covering all around the car this problem could’ve been prevented,” my editor was quick to point out 360-degree coverage from a patrol car has merit. Sneaker Ware Camera operations can be controlled from the computer, eliminating separate control boxes and displays dedicated solely to that purpose. Data is typically transmitted wirelessly to station servers, but can also work with older “sneaker-ware.” The Arbitrator synchs everything into digital files that are easily retrieved for later examination. The back-end video management system has received good reviews from its users. The system does the stuff we have come to consider standard: automated and manual recording and pre-event recording. It’s easier for the cop to use than having separate controllers for the various cameras, and literally can manage all of the video monitoring happening around the car. All for one and one for all? The Arbitrator brings a new meaning to that famous saying — with apologies to the Three Musketeers. For more info: WWW.AMERICANCOPMAGAZINE.COM • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010 Did You See That? How many times have you seen on TV or the internet, the cop dash-cam footage of a contact that went south — off camera — only to hear the sounds of a scuffle or shooting? What about officers who do their business directly in front of their patrol car so it’s all caught on camera — including getting their lights punched out or getting nailed when another motorist slams into the back of their car? I spoke with a former cop who now works for Panasonic to get the inside story behind the Arbitrator 360°. Here’s what I found to be of most benefit. The primary (front) camera has a much wider (68-degrees) field of view. The system will manage up to six cameras simultaneously. 46 *

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