NYU is known globally as a powerhouse for innovation and creativity. Stern alum and CEO of Centinel Solutions Max Kramer exemplifies that reputation. Kramer, who graduated in 2013, created the first weapon-mounted camera designed specifically for law enforcement officers.
The camera attaches to an officer’s gun and begins recording when the weapon is drawn, taking footage of anything the gun is pointed at. It is designed to fit into a standard sidearm holster, making it easy to implement without having to buy new equipment or replace any already existing tools. Kramer’s idea originated in the Stern class “Entrepreneurship and Law,” taught by Clinical Professor of Law in Business Richard Hendler.
“It grew out of that class and out of the feedback that I received from officers in the field,” Kramer said. “Stern gave me a strong foundation in business practices, managerial skills [and] ethics.”
Kramer designed the camera to benefit both law enforcement and the general public. It provides a more accurate record of each time an officer’s weapon is drawn, as opposed to the current method of self-reporting each of these instances.
The camera delivers unbiased evidence when it comes to reporting of weapon use by police officers. This is especially important given the rise of distrust between communities and their police forces. Advances in technology in this field can help foster a better relationship by providing a system of accountability without imposing on police activities.
“You can appreciate how law enforcement is a naturally skeptical customer,” Kramer said. “So, for a period of about three years, we took every little piece of feedback from every department we went to, especially feedback from the rank and file officers, about what they wanted to make them comfortable with a sensor in a camera on a firearm.”
Kramer and his company spent years creating a device that works both in the interest of the public and law enforcement officers. The process of creating the Shield Firearm Camera took approximately three and a half years — from February 2014 up until the present day.
It has taken numerous redesigns of the model and extensive collaboration with police forces in order to create an effective product. Kramer said it was challenging to create a product that catered to the the different needs within the law enforcement field itself.
“No officer engages in the same policing as another department — everybody’s different, there’s outliers everywhere,” Kramer said. “So one department may have an eight-hour shift, one department may do over 14-hour shift, so we have to account for that.”
But the redesigns and challenging nature of the project is just part of being an entrepreneur. Though Kramer finds it frustrating at times, he knows it’s the right path for him in the end.
“It’s very frustrating being an entrepreneur,” Kramer said. “Sometimes I envy a regular 9-5 job but at the end of the day you know follow what interests you.”
Email Alyssa Le at [email protected]