Rare test footage from a Gallatin police car dash camera recently made public, shows just how much the city has changed during the last 29 years.

The 43-minute video titled “1990 Gallatin Tennessee Police Car Dash Camera Test” was converted from VHS to digital and posted on YouTube earlier this month by Kyle Thigpen, whose equipment was used to for the recording.

At the time the footage was taken, Thigpen had just graduated from Gallatin High School and was unsure if he wanted to go into law enforcement or video production as a career.

“I had already made a lot of videos for the police department when we got on the topic of police cameras in cars,” Thigpen recalled. “I told (police) I had a camera available and we could hook it up, try it out and then they could take it to the city council for a presentation.

“I’ve always remembered I had the tape, but… it never occurred to me what kind of time capsule it was until I started watching it again.”

The recording was taken in approximately June of 1990 using a Panasonic WV-2170 camera that was strapped to the windshield of a newly purchased Chevrolet Caprice police car using a radar gun mount. The camera was then tethered to a VHS recorder in the floorboard that was powered using the vehicle’s cigarette lighter outlet.

The video begins in the parking lot of the Gallatin Police Department and includes footage mostly captured along Nashville Pike, Main Street and Hartsville Pike. At the time, the State Route 109 bypass over Nashville Pike was under construction and the properties currently home to Lowe’s and Walmart were undeveloped.

“I had no idea what (the officer) was shooting at the time,” recalled Thigpen who remained behind at the station during the test. “Once he got back, I unhooked all of the equipment so he could go on about his way. I made a copy for the police department and then I kept a copy just because I thought it was cool.

“Basically, the Gallatin Police Department used a high school kid to capture a moment in time.”

Most of Thigpen’s videos from Gallatin are from 1984 until 1993. He plans to digitize and upload more in the future to his YouTube account Blue Devil Music & Green Wave Archive.

Now living in Lebanon with his family, the 47-year-old said he sees “more ways that Gallatin has grown” every time he is back in his hometown.

“That video is the way I remember the town when I left and first moved away,” he added. “It’s the way I still think of Gallatin until I visit. It’s still home though. It’s still where I’m from.”



To watch the full video on YouTube click here.

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