AST Digital Magazine July/August 2016 - Page 76

Volume 6 July-Aug 2016 Edition evolution of the role IT plays in law enforcement, from the days when officers handled their own IT, to today’s significantly more complex environment. Diaz has witnessed first-hand how the use of digital and video-based data has come to play a more important role in driving better conviction rates, making access to that data even more important. “A lot of departments operate in silos, often by necessity, and the downside of that is you have systems that can’t talk to each other. Getting everyone on the same page with a managed workflow requires that everyone has similar systems, so all of the city’s stakeholders can access the information.” swers.” This presents a real problem for cities, and it will only continue to grow. Diaz notes that in the current climate of mistrust surrounding the police force, an officer’s testimony is not always sufficient to bring a conviction. “Now you better have video to back it up.” When Diaz discusses the top challenges that law enforcement agencies face with managing videobased evidence and data, managing volume and cost top the list. “Initially we had 250 cars with cameras in Seattle, so you can imagine how much video we were going through, and how many people we needed in-house to manage it. It was crazy, and we needed to come up with a different solution. In addition, not only do you need to manage it for several entities, you need that video preserved for evidence, and you need working video, and you need to be able to address Freedom of Information Act requests, and the laws and policies for that are lagging behind the technology.” Selecting a storage architecture that is purpose-built for processing video data and combines high-performance, scalability, and accessible long-term retention of data at an affordable cost per megabyte will help law enforcement simplify evidence management and explore new technology innovations in the future. Diaz recalls how one citizen was able to shut down the system with Freedom of Information Act requests. “He basically said ‘I want every video you’ve ever done’, which is impossible to provide, and the courts couldn’t help.” The department eventually hired that citizen to come up with a more manageable system, but the experiment failed to address the problem. Diaz notes, “There are privacy experts who are on both sides of this issue. If they could they would keep a video involving the face of an officer forever. For a citizen, they want to get rid of a video as soon as possible.” Video data retention policies are another challenge that needs to be resolved. “We have not come up with a standardized retention policy. We haven’t come up with a policy for what we’ll record, or what we’re going to keep. If we record something, how long should we keep it? A day? A month? Forever? I’ve heard high ranking people give all of these an- Diaz points out that the reliability of body-worn cameras continues to improve, but acknowledges the challenge they face in field conditions. “Reliability is an issue. If a cop can break it, he will.” Policing in the 21st century depends on aggregated content to piece together data captured from a wide array of sources, including video footage, to help solve crimes and bring criminals to justice. For that to happen, law enforcement agencies need to think differently about their use of data, especially video, and select a storage platform that is affordable and purpose-built. Aligning Architecture Decisions with the Needs of Tomorrow Outside of the law enforcement community, changes in technology are having a significant impact on how video data is used and managed. The prevalence of high resolution, digital cameras with onboard analytics and fast frame rates is placing increased demand on storage infrastructures to ingest and store the data. In addition, advanced analytics applications are creating new use cases for video data beyond safety and loss prevention in industries such as transportation, retail, and manufacturing, requiring video data to be retained longer so it can be analyzed. 76