The Relationship Between Smart Doorbells & Policing

Doorbell cameras, like those in mobile phones that many people carry, can help law enforcement. So many available cameras, which can be likened to digital eyes, help capture lawbreakers from just about every angle. However, the relationship between smart doorbells and police work is more complex than it initially seems.

Potential Dangers to Approaching Officers

Door cameras can pose a threat to law enforcement officers carrying out their duties. In a tragic case, a gunman opened fire on FBI agents from inside his home with an assault-type rifle. It is thought he watched them approach on a doorbell camera, and he killed two agents. These types of cameras open up law enforcement to dangers they did not previously face. If your clients must serve warrants and approach residences while carrying out their duty, this is a new reality with which they have to contend.

However, law enforcement methods may evolve along with technology. Doorbell cameras alert those inside a house of people within 100 feet coming toward the structure. Though these cameras are often difficult to see because of their small size, police and other law enforcement agencies may begin creating diversions upon approach.

Active Surveillance Through Collaboration

Easily accessible technology such as smart doorbells has led to frequent collaboration between law enforcement and the public. Increasingly, police are able to obtain evidence through appealing to the public. This can be a big help in all types of crimes, including large-scale incidents. Doorbell cameras have been credited by police around the country for assisting law enforcement in multiple ways, including:

  • Reducing incidents of theft
  • Video evidence collection
  • In one case, a murderer was apprehended

Some law enforcement agencies have even given the technology to residents, and others have begun asking residents to register their smart doorbells with their local police department. This would make it easier for police to obtain footage and even live stream video from an incident in progress.

Advanced Coverage for Changing Times

Specialized insurance protection for your clients in law enforcement gives them security against potentially huge expenses related to lawsuits. Even if they may win in court, many counties’ general liability policies will not help them pay the large expenses racked up from defending themselves in courts of law.

Vicarious liability laws for law enforcement change, and standard liability will not protect your clients from potentially devastating lawsuits, whether they win or lose. Vicarious liability covers matters of impropriety or negligence in many areas — hiring; direction through an updated manual; oversight; assignments; and entrustment, where your clients could be held liable if subordinates use a gun, nightstick, vehicle, or other property belonging to the official agency. Advanced and comprehensive liability coverage geared to law enforcement’s specific needs lets your clients focus on their vital duties without fear of financial ruin.

About PGUI

Professional Governmental Underwriters, Inc., is a full-service risk management company dedicated to assisting public, educational and non-profit entities in the management of their professional liability exposures including educators liability insurance. We are dedicated to providing state-of-the-art professional underwriting management and loss control advisory services on behalf of our designated carriers. For more information, call us toll-free at (800) 586-6502.