minneapolis US bank stadium (Gian Lorenzo Ferretti/Shutterstock.com)

Minneapolis puts new video platform to work for Super Bowl policing

Police commanders in Minneapolis, Minn., will have their hands full this week as nearly a million fans arrive in the city for the Super Bowl. But thanks to a new smartphone app and command platform called FieldWatch, they'll be able to stream video to commanders, giving the force the situational awareness it needs to handle the crowds.

Developed by Securonet at the request of Minneapolis Police Department for the Super Bowl, the FieldWatch app and web-based command interfaces track the GPS location of officers and responders so commanders can position resources as needed.  Officers in the field can live-stream video to headquarters, where it is stored along with metadata and notes in Amazon Web Services' GovCloud.

The app was tested over four days in July 2017 at the Minneapolis X Games, where it was installed on 127 iPhones for officers assigned to SWAT, K-9, perimeter and plainclothes duties. They streamed 204 videos of incidents ranging from disorderly conduct to a drone flying in a restricted area.

For commanders, the FieldWatch app and an application programming interface are paired with Geo-Comm's Venue Map, which provides detailed 3-D views of area buildings atop a street map along with data from dispatch and records management systems. With Venue Map, commanders can see officers' locations, view video streamed from the field as well as locate fixed public and private surveillance cameras that may have video of specific incidents.

For the Super Bowl, FieldWatch will be used by 2,000 officers as well as state and federal partners.

Officers can stream video to commanders to show “unidentified objects or suspicious activities going on -- or maybe it’s a protest that they want to make sure everybody is safe," Securonet President Dan Zell told CBS Minnesota.  

Minneapolis Police Commander Scott Gerlicher told CBS Minnesota that the app will give them more detailed information on officers and incidents. The department currently knows where squads are, but now it can monitor officers on foot. “I refer to it as Uber for people,” Gerlicher said.

About the Author

Susan Miller is executive editor at GCN.

Over a career spent in tech media, Miller has worked in editorial, print production and online, starting on the copy desk at IDG’s ComputerWorld, moving to print production for Federal Computer Week and later helping launch websites and email newsletter delivery for FCW. After a turn at Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology, where she worked to promote technology-based economic development, she rejoined what was to become 1105 Media in 2004, eventually managing content and production for all the company's government-focused websites. Miller shifted back to editorial in 2012, when she began working with GCN.

Miller has a BA and MA from West Chester University and did Ph.D. work in English at the University of Delaware.

Connect with Susan at [email protected] or @sjaymiller.


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