UPD Chief Ray Ottman holds one of the department's current body worn cameras. The
new cameras acquired through the grant are an upgrade in both quality and quantity over
the cameras the department currently uses.
Officers in the University Police Department at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith will soon be utilizing cutting-edge equipment as part of a federal grant from the Department of Justice.
UAFS has received $12,000 to purchase 10 high-tech body cameras for use by UPD officers, an upgrade in both quality and quantity from the four body cameras the department has previously used.
“These cameras will help us capture a true and accurate representation of what an officer is seeing and hearing at the time of an incident,” said Ray Ottman, chief of the UPD. “We previously had some outdated cameras that weren’t up to speed with what was out there on the market. These new cameras will be invaluable for corroborating witness, victim or officer statements following an incident.”
The cameras allow for easier uploading of filmed video and can also capture up to two minutes of prerecorded video in situations where the officer may not have been able to turn on the camera in time.
“So if you might have missed something that was valuable at the time, it can go back and recapture that,” Ottman said. “It’s a huge benefit to the department and everybody involved.”
Additionally, the cameras boast extended battery life and extended storage, which are valuable improvements as body cameras become more prevalent with law enforcement agencies.
“We fully trust our officers and the work they do on campus, but the use of body worn cameras provides an impartial witness for interactions between the police and the public,” Ottman said. “It also increases the transparency of the police department as we continue our efforts to build strong relationships with the public.”
Ottman said the department is in the process of purchasing cameras, and they hope to begin using the equipment in the winter.
About the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith
The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith is the premiere regional institution of Western Arkansas, connecting education with careers and serving as a driver of economic development and quality of place in the greater Fort Smith region. Through a small campus, dedicated professors, and the university’s unique bond with its community, students at UAFS are able to do more in the areas they are passionate about, both on- and off-campus, in a way that prepares them for post-graduate success. To find out how you can do more at UAFS, visit www.uafs.edu/do-more.