Orlando Police Department rolls out first wave of upgraded body cams

Manufacturer says enhanced batteries last up to twice as long


ORLANDO, Fla. – One month after body cam video of an officer-involved shooting was missed because of a dead battery, the Orlando Police Department has issued more than 400 upgraded systems with batteries that last up to 10 hours.

In May, the body camera worn by Master Officer Anthony Wongshue failed during the shooting of the getaway driver at Colonial Plaza.

[READ: Body camera video shows Forest High School shooting response]

A shopper recorded the stand-off from the parking lot, it proved to be the only video evidence of the fatal event.

On Monday, Sgt. Eduardo Bernal, a spokesperson for OPD, said the department knew the old battery systems would not last a standard 12-hour shift.

“The cameras weren’t going to last with a 4- or 5-hour battery,” Bernard said. “Twelve-hour shifts, do the math, it’s not going to work.”

[RELATED: Names of suspect, officers in Orlando police-involved shooting released]

Motorola Solutions had issued the body cam systems last December with the understanding that improved systems would be coming.

While OPD waited for the upgraded systems, three batteries were issued to officers using the body cam systems.

Yet in the Colonial Plaza stand-off, Wongshue was at the end of his shift and the last of his three batteries failed.

[READ: Was fatal Orlando police shooting justified? Former sheriff says yes]

By June, the Orlando Police Department started receiving new versions of the Si500, equipped with two batteries that are supposed to last up to 10 hours each.

Motorola spokesperson Chantal Montsion told News 6 the latest version of the Si500 has  “enhanced functionality and greater energy efficiency allowing a single battery to last up to twice as long." 

According to Montsion, the camera kits include two batteries providing a total of 20 hours.

[RELATED: Orlando police streaming surveillance video to Amazon for facial recognition test]

Bernal said officers have been impressed with the new systems so far, but he stressed that the video while valuable, is only one perspective.

“It’s an additional perspective to the incident," he said. “It’s not the officer’s perspective.”

According to Bernard, the body cam kits have been issued to members of OPD’s patrol, motor and tactical units. 

By September, an additional 300 systems will be issued.

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