The tactical pole cam is an essential tool for law enforcement and defense users, critical for defeating threats in dangerous spaces like attics, crawlspaces, and tunnels. But traditional pole cams are difficult and dangerous to employ because of their limited field of view and lack of orientation cues.
In this article we show how teams across the U.S. and worldwide are using our cameras as highly-effective 360-degree pole cams – for a fraction of the cost of other systems.
The key advantages of using Bounce Imaging cameras as pole cams are:
- Field of View
- Situational Awareness/Orientation
We’ll cover each in turn. But first, how do you use our cameras as pole cams?
Using Bounce Cameras as Pole Cams
How? Easy. Every Bounce Imaging camera has 1 or 2 (depending on the model) 1/4-20 thread mounts (the most standard thread mount on the market).
If you have your own pole with a long 1/4-20 thread, you can use that. Otherwise, our universal pole mount accessory lets you attach our camera to a microphone stand, some broom handles, almost anything. We recommend $30-$40 extendable painter’s poles from Home Depot or Wal-Mart – see some examples HERE and HERE. To the cost advantage above, this will save you hundreds of dollars relative to a “tactical” pole. Heck, we’ll even send you some tactical black paint and velcro for it if you want…
Field of View = SAFETY
The most common injury we hear from teams conducting attic searches is that an officer has taken a shot from a gunman in the attic, often with the attacker shooting blindly through the floor of the attic. Why are officers standing under the attic, exposed? Because traditional methods for searching attics, like mirrors or polecams, require at least one (and usually two) operators to be turning the system to explore different areas of the attic. That means team members stuck under the attic, exposed to fire. That’s crazy dangerous.
With a Bounce Imaging camera as a pole camera, you can eliminate the need for this exposed position. Simply prop the pole up into the attic opening and back away. From a safe distance, multiple team members can all look in multiple directions around the attic. But what if you were looking left when you think you heard the suspect dive behind some insulation to the right? Just roll back the video to that point in time, swipe left, and catch the bad guy in the act!
We hear from teams across the country that this feature alone has led them to dump their pole cams and use our system as their exclusive pole cam. Being just 10 or 20 feet further away while searching an attic may not sound like much, but it can mean a life-saving difference if it means not being exposed to live fire.
Orientation/Direction Provides a Key Advantage
Let’s be honest: lots of the places you have to search are a total mess. Attics, basements, crawlspaces, sewers, and tunnels are so unfamiliar in layout and so often filled with garbage or stuff that you’d have trouble getting your bearings in daylight and without pressure, much less when you’re considering clearing them in the dark.
This gives an adversary with hostile intent a clear advantage – they know where they are and you don’t. and they know the entry point through which you have to enter (which is often below them – a further advantage).
Our cameras let you level the playing field. Our unique horizontal stabilization means that no matter what happens to the camera as it gets shoved into the space, if you screen was pointed to the ball camera’s 12 o’clock, it will remain 12 o’clock on your screen. That lets you precisely know if the suspect is in front of you, behind you, or to the left or right.
That may not sound like that much of an advantage, but we hear from our teams that it is decisive in ensuring the capture of suspects and the safety of teams.
In addition to this capability, we will soon be activating a digital compass on compatible cameras in the field. Stay tuned for that app update!
The reality of federal, state, and local governments is that budgets for tactical equipment are limited. Systems that are too expensive don’t get used for fear of breaking prize possessions. Lower-cost systems let you buy more cameras (because “Two is One and One is None” when it comes to critical safety equipment). Spending a lot of money on one piece of kit means you may have to sacrifice another essential tool.
We understand this – and we were founded in part because we saw abusive pricing for equipment in the first responder world that kept key tools out of the hands of underfunded departments.
We already told you we’ve designed our system to work with a $30 painter’s pole, not some tactical pole that costs you hundreds. But our camera systems start well under $3500, while most existing pole cameras from other companies cost $9K, $12K, sometimes as much as $20K. That means you can buy 3-5 of our cameras for the cost of one of theirs – AND get better technology.
Our systems work with your phones and tablets, so you never need to upgrade or buy a new viewing system (just reinstall or update an app!). We have no moving parts – so no expensive maintenance or repairs (we hear of companies charging $3500 – the price of our camera! – to fix a section of a pole camera).
Finally our systems are multi-purpose – you can take the camera off the pole and use our system as a tactical throwable camera, a surveillance camera, a two-way audio throw phone, a better robot camera, or even a K-9 camera. Your budget goes a long way with that kind of flexibility.