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What is the new equipment I see on the trunks of Wilmington police cars?

David Reynolds
StarNews

Thought the weird-looking contraptions on the trunks of sedans went out with car-phone antennas?

Well, they’re back. But as part of a different technology.

Several Wilmington police cruisers now have rectangular-shaped protuberances on the hood of their trunks. The devices are part of a new dashboard-camera system, which is gradually being phased in at the department. The new camera system allows video to be downloaded straight into a computer system, said WPD spokeswoman Lucy Crockett.

So far, only some of the department’s cruisers are on the system, but more cars will be outfitted with the technology in the future.

Rather than replacing older, but still-functional cameras, WPD is installing the new system as older dashboard cameras are replaced, Crockett said.

More and more, video technologies, new and old, are becoming a part of local law enforcement. Wrightsville Beach has applied for a grant that would fund a camera system to check license plates on the drawbridge. The grant would also fund similar technology in one police car. More basic dash-cams in Wrightsville Beach police cruisers are nothing new.

Wrightsville Beach Police Capt. Michael Core said the department has dashboard cameras in all its marked police, and that it has for some time. Unmarked cars, belonging to detectives and administrators don’t have cameras, Core said.

The dash cams record only when the cruiser’s blue lights are on, or when an officer turns on the camera, Core said. The Wrightsville Beach dashboard cameras aren’t on a system, which downloads video automatically from police cars.

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