Catasauqua gets new weapon technology
During an Oct. 2 presentation, Catasauqua Police Chief Douglas Kish welcomed Brian Hedeen, president of Viridian, a weapon technology company, to introduce the FACT Duty™ weapon-mounted camera that is being deployed by the borough’s police force.
Catasauqua Police Department is the first force in Pennsylvania to deploy the technology.
As Hedeen explained, the product is an outgrowth of several controversial shootings.
“I first thought about it with the shooting in Ferguson. I thought we could put our technology to use to get a better view of what happened,” he said.
Witnesses of the Ferguson, Mo., shooting had different versions of what happened. On Aug. 9, 2014, 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr. was fatally shot by 28-year-old Darren Wilson, a Ferguson police officer. The incident, and the controversial events leading up to the shooting, ignited unrest in Ferguson.
The technology used by Viridian is a weapon-mounted camera attached to the gun barrel that gives an unobstructed view of what the officer sees. The camera is automatically turned on when a weapon is drawn from the officer’s holster.
Kish said he likes it because it is technology that is easy to implement and relatively low-cost.
“A department of our size has a surprisingly large number of interactions with the public,” he said. “The FACT Duty camera allows us coverage for possible officer-involved shooting without huge overhead costs.”
The camera includes a tactical light similar to the ones carried by Catasauqua officers today. The green light laser pioneered by Viridian provides a brighter light.
“We don’t use any more power for the green laser, but our eyes are more attuned to green, so it seems brighter,” Hedeen said.
According to Matthew Plowman, Viridian’s general counsel, the new technology is designed to protect officers.
“As we closely monitor shooting events across the country, affected parties do not believe justice was served,” he said. “Much of the controversy in so many past incidents and trials was what the officer saw when pulling the trigger. The FACT Duty is a tool to provide objective evidence, both for potential legal proceedings and in helping the community understand what happened.”
Cops on the beat are leery of more technology. Officers outside Catasauqua’s police force question the use of more cameras. As one officer indicated, it is one more opportunity for people to second guess an officer’s decision. Police do not feel the public is cognizant of what they do and the risks involved.