2013 GCN AWARDS
Austin police boost transparency, data management with digital video
Austin’s police department installed a digital video recording system in its police car fleet that gives officers total confidence that their interactions with the public will be recorded. In replacing a nine-year-old VHS tape system that had to be manually activated, the Austin PD put in place a system “that goes beyond state-of-the-art,” according to the department.
Activated by a door-trigger, the system starts recording without officer intervention but still allows officers to enter case numbers and other supplementary notes. It can transmit up to 4 terabytes of video every 24 hours via a high-throughput IEEE 802.11n outdoor wireless network to a centralized data processing and storage center. An additional power supply in the trunk allows video/audio to upload uninterrupted for four hours after the patrol car’s engine is turned off.
Having that much evidentiary video collected that quickly helps speed case management and adjudication and lets officers get onto the next assignment or patrol instead of manually operating the video system. A new storage management device also helps the department meet record retention requirements without needing to add additional physical storage, which Austin estimates will save the city $3 million in storage costs over five years.
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