Body Cams – Only one part of law enforcement video surveillance


According to Fast Company only 20% of police departments have deployed body cameras for their police departments.  Once a decision is made to add body cameras to car cameras, jail cameras, interview room cameras, and other cameras in the law enforcement environments, the competition has become almost hand to hand combat between different vendor.

Last month, a law suit between the selected vendor and the runner-up has caused a delay in implantation in Austin, Texas.  A judge in New York City has stopped deployment to officers in the New York Police Department.  Requests for proposals, required by law, are written for a single vendor specification, and even the budget is a perfect match to the monthly “all in one pricing.”

Once deployed most of the cameras go into a docking station.  It can take up to 30 minutes to upload the files to the cloud or local storage done “on-the-clock.”   No community can afford to waste time and money in this manner.

What is being forgotten in this intense competition is the safety and security of the actual data files created in the process. The Justice Department requires these files to be in a non-proprietary format.  They travel over public Wi-Fi and the public internet to public clouds.  It is no wonder that a leaked body cam file in a community in Texas showed up on YouTube.

So, what is the answer to these issues and how can communities meet their regulatory compliance issues when it comes to evidence preservation?

First, remember that body camera video files are only part of the story.  Monthly subscriptions do not allow aggregation of all law enforcement video.  No one needs “islands of storage.”

The safest storage is policy-based storage on premise or in remote data centers where the files can be accessed by VPN, not the public internet.  The amount of on premise storage purchased should be based upon regulatory requirements, and the overall storage needs for all the video files including evidence.  By balancing capital and operating costs (on premise storage and cloud storage the overall cost of storage per file goes down.

Every community needs a trusted advisor with an overall understanding of not only current technology but how costs can be minimized as storage files continue to grow and more and more analytics are being applied to solve crimes faster, reducing risk and costs to both the community and our law enforcement agencies.

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