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VIEVU LE3 Body Worn Camera Review

Almost five years ago I was introduced to a wearable body camera for law enforcement manufactured by a company called VIEVU.  The small camera clipped or pinned on to your uniform (or other clothing) and also came with a windshield mount so it could be used as a dashcam if you so desired.  At that time, all the body-worn cameras I was familiar with were either too bulky to be comfortable, required a separate microphone to be worn as well, or were fragile.  Yes, I can think of one or two examples those descriptive phrases wouldn’t fit, but those held their own challenges like not being compatible with protective equipment or short battery lives.  I was impressed with the VIEVU PVR Pro-2 way back in November of 2009 and now, having been introduced to the VIEVU LE3, I continue to be impressed.  The technology is simple to use, rugged enough to perform and versatile enough to fulfill more than one mission.  Let’s take a look…

The VIEVU LE3 Overview

(Excerpt from their published material re: this product):

“The LE3 is the first high-performance, wearable HD video camera that is the ideal device to capture and provide compelling, forensic video evidence. Cops and other law enforcement personnel will love its combination of speed/functionality, ease-of-use, and security,” said Steve Ward, VIEVU CEO and founder.

Designed “by cops, for cops”, the LE3 is a small, lightweight, self-contained video recorder, about the size of a pager, that can easily be worn on the uniform. The LE3 was built to make operation simple, such as its simple lens slide cover that acts as an on/off switch for easy activation in stressful situations.

With its advanced SDK, the LE3 is easily integrated into existing video systems or other video management platforms (i.e. Dash cams, interview room cameras, et al); with its highly secured VERIPATROL software, all video evidence can be accessed/stored locally or in a cloud location for ongoing cases/trials.

Additional key feature/specs include: 

  • HD or Widescreen SD video resolution
  • H.264 video compression
  • 16GB non removable internal storage
  • Enhanced security, image quality and low light capability
  • Ability to review videos on a mobile computer in the field
  • Increased battery life with the ability to record video while charging
  • 3x faster video download from previous LE2 camera

LE3 is now available for purchase with a suggested retail price of $899. This price includes VERIPATROL secure file management software.

Now, in reading through that I hope you identified three of the most important specifications about the LE3:

  1. Designed by cops for cops.  That matters.  How many products have you looked at or tried out that were designed by some tech-head with no knowledge of law enforcement work other than what they saw on NCIS?  Having people familiar with the demands and controls of law enforcement actually design the gear we use makes a huge difference in how seamlessly we can integrate that tech into our day-to-day functions.
  2. …easily integrated into existing video systems or other video management platforms.  That matters.  While every officer actually wearing a camera may benefit either in prosecuting a case through the evidence it provides or in defending from a citizen complaint thanks to the exonerative video available, purchasing and integrating the technology is an administrative challenge.  That the LE3 can work with other already-in-use technology makes it an easier decision to purchase and integrating it into the existing technology policies and protocols becomes less of a challenge as well.
  3. $899.  This price includes the VERIPATROL secure file management software.  That matters.  All of us have headed to court with a photo or clip of video, either of evidentiary value, only to find ourselves challenged on the security of the media security management system.  Having media security management system that is proven and court-accepted makes all the difference and saves a ton of time potentially wasted in proving said system.  If, for whatever reason, $899 is too rich for your circumstance, VIEVU also offers the Straight Shooter 25 program that allows you to purchase the cameras for $25 per month.

So, with that in mind, let’s talk about the VERIPATROL software for a moment.  VIEVU touts over 7 million hours of police video managed in 2013 performed at no charge to VIEVU customers.  7 million hours.  Let’s put that in perspective: there are 168 hours in a week so 7 million hours is roughly 41,667 weeks or over 800 years’ worth of video.  That’s not just a little bit of proof of performance; that’s a LOT of proof of performance.

VERIPATROL has three difference capabilities that increase versatility of the camera and captured video.  VERIPATROL Local lets you manage your camera system using the software system provided with the VieVu LE3 camera.  It provides secure storage, retrieval and management of the video evidence.  The VidLock Security Suite prevents unauthorized access (and that matters both IN and OUT of our LE house), and its FIPS 140-2 compliant (that matters for you evidence tech folks).

The VERIPATROL Cloud allows your agency to securely store or backup video files downloaded to VERIPATROL.  As close to 100% durable as anything can be measured, the VERIPATROL Cloud uses encrypted file storage and is “infinitely scalable.”  Why does that matter?  Some agencies are, by circumstance, limited to being five-man agencies forever; some start there and grow.  I know of one agency that started as a ten-man agency and is now a thirty-man agency and the video evidence technology they use has had to grow with their needs.  “Scalable” matters.

VERIPATROL Mobile allows you to download and view video from your LE3 in the field so you can have the opportunity to review it for lookout information, evidence identification, etc.  The video is still secure and can’t be deleted or tampered with so administrators can appreciate the enabling power of video review in the field without being concerned about evidence tampering at the same time.  VERIPATROL Mobile allows for the wireless transfer of downloaded video to whatever administrative facility is specified where it can be (again?) reviewed as necessary to assist the office on the street.

Now, with the strength and versatility of the VERIPATROL software delineated, let’s take a look at the specifications of the LE3 body worn camera.  Five years ago when I reviewed the PVR Pro-2 I compared its size to that of a pager (for those of us who remember pagers).  So FEW people now remember wearing a pager that I don’t feel like that comparison is valid anymore. So, here are the specifications for the LE3 as published on the VIEVU website:

  • HD (1280×720) or Widescreen SD (848×480) Video Resolution
  • Enhanced Image Quality and Low Light Capability
  • Up to 5hr Record Time
  • Up to 12hr of Video Storage
  • 16GB of Internal Memory
  • Mute Functionality
  • Local Time or GMT Date & Time Stamp
  • Digital Signature Security
  • Field of View: 68 degrees
  • Color Video & Audio
  • Waterproof (IPX5)
  • Dimensions: ~ 3″x2″x.85″
  • Weight: ~ 2.8oz
  • Compatible: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8
  • Green Design – RoHS & WEEE certified

The items on that list that matter most to me as a user are the recording time (5 hours), storage time (12 hours), the Date & Time stamp, that it’s waterproof and its size.  That 3”x3”by.85” is (if you’re old enough to remember) about the size of a common pager “back in the day.”

I received a production LE3 for testing purposes.  The test unit I sent wasn’t anything special or uniquely prepared.  It was a standard production unit in regular packaging shipped to me via UPS.  In the box was one LE3 camera, the power cord, a windshield mount and the directions.  Included with the camera is one authorization for download of the VERIPATROL software.  Also included is a clip mount and a pin mount.  The mounts are easily interchangeable but I prefer the clip mount and that’s what it came installed with so I didn’t have to mess with it.  All I had to do was charge the camera and it was ready to go.

I wore the camera for about thirty (30) shifts, in both uniform and plain clothes, and on a number of weekend hikes to capture the scenery as well (and to see if the mass of budding foliage/pollen in spring time messed up the video at all).  I had no issues with the camera.  Because of its light weight (less than three ounces as listed above) it wasn’t noticeable as I wore it.  I mostly wore it clipped onto the middle of my shirt at chest level and did bump it once or twice reaching for something in my pocket(s).  I hooked it up in my seatbelt a couple times before I got used to it being there.  I noticed that, depending on how I held my weapon, sometimes the camera view was obscured on the range, but before and after presentation was crystal clear.

All in all I’m as impressed with the LE3 as I was with the PVR Pro-2.  The price is very reasonable, especially when you compare it to products from other manufacturers AND you take into consideration that each camera comes with its own downloadable copy of the VERIPATROL software.  If your agency is looking to purchase body worn cameras, check out the VIEVU LE3 – and appreciate the versatility of the compact package.

Stay safe!

 

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