“IBM’s ability to plan and deploy a system-wide technology change with little disruption to our staff helped to make the project a success.” –Benny Yazdan Panahi,
Chief Information Officer,
Tyler, Texas, Police Department
Rather than dealing with thousands of analog tapes and the administrative cost required to store them, the Tyler, Texas, Police Department opted for a digital video capture, storage, management and retrieval system from IBM and Coban.
It took too long to search video evidence since it was captured, stored and managed using manual processes; and it was accessible only by the police. Sometimes, officers forgot to turn on the camera in their patrol cars.
End-to-end process automation of video capture and management, including Coban Research and Technologies video capture solution deployed in 60 patrol cars by IBM Global Services; IBM DB2® Content Manager; IBM Tivoli® Storage Manager; IBM Ultrium LTO Tape Library 3582; IBM ^® xSeries®.
$50,000 saved annually in employee time and tapes; more officer time spent on the street; higher quality video images which are projected to increase conviction rates and reduce the risk of lawsuits
Like many law enforcement agencies today, the City of Tyler, Texas, Police Department relies on technology to help fight crime. For example, the 200-employee department had been utilizing an analog video capture and tape-management system to help create potentially court-admissible evidence at the scene of an incident. However, the manual system was cumbersome and inefficient. Officers sometimes forgot to turn the camera on, and two full-time administrative staff members were needed to manage the thousands of tapes handed into headquarters. Finding and retrieving a needed video clip usually took many hours.
Needing a more efficient digital video capture and management system, the Police Department turned to IBM Global Services for a turnkey digital video system that would help reduce the number of manual tasks and increase the quality of the output. The Police Department chose IBM Global Services because of its proven ability to design and implement systems for public safety agencies, and its competitivelypriced offerings that could scale according to growing needs.
“IBM has been tremendous as far as helping us and looking at our strategic goals to see where we want to go,” says Benny Yazdan Panahi, chief information officer of the City of Tyler. “And since we are collaborating more and more with other local law enforcement agencies, we wanted a partner that was globally known and trusted to encourage other departments to join us in this project.”
Working side by side with the Police Department’s IT staff, IBM Global Services recommended a video capture, management and retrieval system from IBM Business Partner Coban Research and Technologies. IBM—with Coban Research and Technologies and MIT Global, another IBM Business Partner—provided project management, process and design consulting, training, back-office hardware installation and in-vehicle installation services. The whole project took approximately one month, including hardware installation and training. “IBM’s ability to plan and deploy a system-wide technology change with little disruption to our staff helped to make the project a success,” says Yazdan Panahi.
“The IBM and Coban solution will pay for itself soon in terms of lower administrative overhead costs. And the excitement generated by the new solution is having a very positive impact on officer morale.” –Benny Yazdan Panahi
The next phase of the IBM and Coban solution will enable officers to stream live video from headquarters and officers’ cars..
Video on demand
Now, squad cars have mounted video cameras in their squad cars, which record continuously as officers conduct their patrols. When an officer switches on the overhead pursuit lights, the Coban system saves the preceding two minutes—more video than was previously gathered. The camera continues saving to a hard disk drive in a removable unit. At the end of the shift, the officer drops the hard drive into a cradle at the police station, which automatically starts uploading the stored video, audio and radar readings and other data associated with each incident. During the upload process, any software updates to the Coban system are automatically retrieved, ensuring that every patrol car’s technology is up to date, without the police department having to manage these upgrades manually.
Storage is managed by IBM ® xSeries servers running IBM DB2 Content Manager and IBM Tivoli Storage Manager. An IBM Ultrium LTO Tape Library 3582 archives this data for near-line retrieval. DB2 Content Manager helps enable authorized parties to search the database of digitized videos and retrieve the video they need.
Pleased with the results, the Tyler Police Department expects that the improved quality of video evidence will help boost conviction rates, which, in turn, will have a positive impact on public safety. It is anticipated that it will also save the department approximately $50,000 in employee hours by drastically reducing the time spent in storing, managing and retrieving digitized videos. “The IBM and Coban solution will pay for itself soon in terms of lower administrative overhead alone,” says Yazdan Panahi. “And the excitement generated by the new solution is having a very positive impact on officer morale.”
Police officers and district law enforcement officials are also excited about the next phase of the project, which will utilize wireless “hotspots” throughout the city to enable officers on the beat to stream video into department headquarters, or even to other cruisers. This is expected to improve decision making by squad commanders, whose duty it is to ensure that officers on the scene have proper backup.
“Our new IBM system helps enable us to deploy our resources more intelligently and do a better job of law enforcement,” says Yazdan Panahi. “We expect other agencies to copy our system, which will help to create a larger local area sharing the same advanced law enforcement technology to help protect our citizens.”
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