How Do Police Dash Cameras Work? (Must-Know Tips)

One of the most useful tools that the police use, whenever they want to make sure that they are capable of keeping order on the road, is the dashboard camera or simply the dashcam.

The reason why police dashcams are useful is due to how they are capable of capturing how fast a vehicle is going while providing proof of what was happening during the actual apprehension of a culprit.

But how do police dash cameras work? 

Police dash cams work by using GPS as a way to tell how fast a vehicle is going. That means that, as long as the dash cam has been chasing a vehicle far enough, it could calculate the speed of the vehicle based on the distance it covered with respect to the time it needed to cover such a distance.


Dashcams don’t have the same kind of tech that speed guns do.

But that doesn’t mean that dash cams aren’t useful when it comes to capturing how fast a vehicle is going.

As such, they are capable enough to assist the officer when trying to apprehend someone who they believe is overspeeding or has possibly committed a violation of the law.


Are police dash cameras always recording?

When it comes to the police, one of the most useful devices that they have on their vehicles are dashboard cameras or dash cams.

These devices are simply cameras that are capable of recording everything that’s in front or behind the police car so that the police can make use of any of the information they need when it comes to presenting evidence of a possible violation or crime committed within the vicinity of the police car.

That said, when you do find yourself near a police car on the road, you have to know that these cameras are more than likely always recording.

In other words, the chances point to the fact that police dashcams are always on and are going to record everything they see regardless of whether or not the policemen intended them to be on.

The reason why police dashcams are always on is that they don’t rely on their own battery.

Instead, the battery life of dash cams is nearly infinite as they are connected directly to the car’s battery.

This allows the dash cam to do what it is intended to do ideally in the sense that it will always be recording information as long as the police car is turned on and is providing enough power to the camera.

In most cases, police dashcams automatically turn on the moment the car’s ignition is turned on.

As such, when you do see a police car on the road, the most likely cause is that its dash cam is turned on and is recording everything within the limits of its capabilities.

You would have to be careful with your speed and your activity on the road if you do see a police car as any violation you commit could be recorded and used against you.

How do police dash cameras work?

Now that you know that a police dash cam is almost always on, the next thing you need to know is how they work.

In most cases, police dash cams work the same way as any other camera in the sense that they are capable of recording everything in front or behind the car while saving the footage in the camera’s storage device in the process.

Some police dashcams might even automatically transmit the data to a server through the internet.

Meanwhile, when it comes to how police dash cameras work when it comes to recording how fast a vehicle is going, this is something that works differently compared to speed or radar guns that are capable of capturing the speed of a moving vehicle in an instant.

Unlike speed or radar guns, dash cams tend to use GPS to tell how fast a vehicle is moving.

This is usually done whenever the police car is in pursuit of a possible speed limit violator and has been pursuing it for a certain distance.

As such, the dash cam would be capable of calculating how fast the vehicle was going based on the distance it covered relative to the amount of time it needed to cover it.

So, in a sense, the police dash cam uses the vehicle’s positioning through GPS to determine how fast it was able to cover such a distance.

It’s basic physics in the sense that it uses distance divided by time to tell the speed of the vehicle.

As such, it gives a near-accurate account of the speed of the possible violator so that the police would not end up using subjective evidence when trying to prove that the violator was going over the speed limit.

How long do police keep dash cam videos?

All that said, we know for a fact that police dash cameras are capable of saving videos in the camera’s own storage device.

But, then again, if that is the case, you have to understand that several hours of footage that spans over dozens of days saved in the camera’s storage system can end up filling the storage capacity in a hurry.

As such, how long does the police keep dash cam videos?

The one thing you should know here is that there is no exact answer to that question because there are plenty of factors that need to be addressed.

Factors such as local laws, storage capacities, and ongoing investigations can play a role in how long the police keep dash cam videos saved.

However, the general rule is that the police usually keep their dash camera videos stored somewhere between 3 to 30 months depending on the capacity of their tech and on the budget of the local police.

Of course, the more advanced the tech is and the more well-funded the police force is, the more likely they are to keep dash cam videos for an extended period of time especially because they can afford to save the videos in a server or a larger storage drive.

Sources What Are Police Car Cameras Actually Capable Of?

Police1: 5 reasons why a police department needs an in-car video system