Deputies in the Kit Carson County Sheriff's Office in Burlington, Colorado, are wearing Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphones on their vests. The phones serve as body cameras and run on AT&T's LTE-based FirstNet public safety platform. In addition to recording footage, they serve as personnel locators, digital cameras and secondary radios.
Using Galaxy S9s as body cameras might bring some benefits, like automatic uploads and real-time livestreams. But it's an odd thing to tout at the moment, given all of the backlash about body cameras being worn but not turned on and growing concern about police-use of facial recognition. Though, a spokesperson confirmed that these cameras do not use facial recognition software. And the tech, developed by Visual Labs, can alert officers when a camera is not turned. It can also turn the devices on remotely.
Studies have found that police-worn body cameras don't necessarily solve issues like excessive use of force, and they can be susceptible to hacking. Still, body cameras have become more common, and there's a chance we'll see more, small law enforcement teams looking for creative ways to equip their officers.
Update 7/24/19 2:10PM ET: This story has been updated to reflect that sheriff's office is already using the Galaxy S9s as body cameras. A spokesperson confirmed that the cameras do not use facial recognition software and that the devices can notify officers if the camera is not on. The cameras can also be turned on remotely.