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Caught on Camera, Part 1

By: Amanda O'Neal
By: Amanda O'Neal

There's no better evidence than seeing something with your own eyes. That's why more law enforcement agencies are investing in video recording devices. One of the first types of systems is the dash board camera and it got its start right here in the Brazos Valley.

We've all seen those dramatic high speed chases caught on tape by police dash board cameras. Mounted inside the windshield of a cruiser, they capture what officers see and say during a chase, and what offenders do and say after.

Brazos County Attorney, Jim Kuboviak, is credited with improving the dash board camera system. He ran a pilot and training program with Bryan's Police Department in 1987.

" It's now 17 years into the program. It's been adopted in all 50 states. All departments of transportation have funded the program. So what started right here in the Brazos Valley has spread through out the country," said Kuboviak.

At first police used the dash cam to record traffic stops. They're not just helping to identify criminals, but also to investigate complaints against officers. Police also video tape the questioning of witnesses and suspects.

Video cameras are also turning up in convenience stores and shopping malls as a deterrent. Huntsville Police detective, Ken Foulch, spends countless hours investigating robberies using surveillance video.

"With investigations, we rely on video heavily. The best source of a witness is an eye witness and if we can't get an eye witness we'll take the second best thing which would be video," said Foulch.

But police can't do their work if business owners don't keep their equipment operating. Police say there's nothing more frustrating than finding out that the surveillance equipment was not working or the video quality was poor.

That's where new technology comes into play. Digital video is replacing VHS.

"When I first started 16 years ago it was just the basic video system and it was very expensive. Now as technology has progressed it has become a lot smaller and faster," said Foulch.

Sometimes cameras are rolling, but the quality isn't good. Wednesday in part two of our report, we'll introduce you to a Bobby Pittmon who enhances video for law enforcement agencies across the state and he's right here in the Brazos Valley.


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