Law Enforcement Video – Why Best of Breed Solutions


It is the perfect time to reassess how departments select law enforcement video capture suppliers, on the heels of Houston shutting down further implementation of the largest body-cam implementation in the United States last month and the Amazon s3 outage that affected thousands of Taser customers.

Law enforcement video capture is a greenfield opportunity with thousands of opportunities for the IT community to attack.  We are seeing “hand to hand” combat in the courts after awards have been made as companies feel they were not given a fair shake.  This has delayed deployment in cities all over the country.

Many companies employ retired policemen with the “good old boy” sales approach, others just make it an extension of something the departments have already bought.  While some cities have been successful, others are struggling with long camera uploads and broken procedures that result in overtime or the inability to use the camera on another shift.

The fact is that technology waits for no person in its march to simplify, reduce form factors and lower prices.  Almost all the body cams and many of the car cameras are generation one products that were rushed to market to meet demand.  Programs that include “unlimited” storage soon find out that there might be only one copy of the data and in an outage, the data might not be available.  Video captured by a car or an officer cannot be aggregated on to one storage array as they are “separate accounts.”

So, how should a police department proceed in these turbulent times in America?  Look beyond the free trips and Oakley sunglasses and use common sense.  Departments should look to a two-year cycle for cameras and software and a three-year to five-year storage solution.  If you want to use a cloud solution make sure the data is in multiple data centers rather than just one.  If it is not, do not use the solution.

A best of breed solution could be a best of breed camera, software and storage.  It also can be a software subscription.  We will see how all this plays out.

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