As Time magazine reported earlier this year, almost one-third of the nation’s 18,000 state and local police departments are requiring their officers to strap on body worn video cameras to document civilian encounters.
The need for law enforcement to demonstrate accountability has never been greater, given the national outcry over police shootings of suspects and, more recently, the random retaliatory slayings of police officers. Body and dashboard-mounted cameras provide evidence that can exonerate, as well as incriminate, officers of the law.
As a result, the rapid expansion of video surveillance places enormous demands on law enforcement agencies, which have to analyze and store vast amounts data. The Time article notes that Mary Fan, JD, a law professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, estimates that the largest municipal police departments generate some 10,000 hours of video footage a week.
Police departments have two main options for video storage:
- Purchase an on-site archiving system that can be a major capital investment
- Use a third-party cloud storage provider
Storing video footage on-site means that this crucial data will be more vulnerable to natural disasters such as fires and flooding, as well as deliberate vandalism or hacking by those who seek to destroy potentially damaging evidence – not to mention the capital expense involved.
Not All Clouds Are Equal
Using a third-party cloud server eliminates the need for major capital investment beyond what your department is paying for the cameras themselves. But not all cloud service providers are equal.
The two largest manufacturers of body-cams offer video cloud storage services, which may seem convenient but typically are not cost-effective solutions. For example, Taser International charges over $540,000 per per year for storing body and dashboard camera video for the City of Fort Worth, Texas, according to an article titled Taser is Charging Stunning Fees to Handle Police Video in Bloomberg Business. Taser makes a much larger profit on its video storage service (51% gross profit margin) than on its hardware (15.6% gross profit margin), reported an article published in Computerworld last year. Indeed, big city police departments are spending millions of dollars to purchase body-cam equipment and data storage from these manufacturers – but there is another option.
A Trusted & Cost-Effective Alternative
An alternative to consider is a cloud provider that specializes in enterprise content management and automation technology solutions—a provider that many municipalities already rely on for the majority of their document management needs.
Powered by OpenText ApplicationXtender (AX) document management software, MetaStor by MetaSource is a cloud-based enterprise content management system that allows you to quickly retrieve and manage video footage and other types of files. Controlled by multiple levels of security, the system ensures that only the appropriate department personnel can access video evidence.
MetaStor is easy to use, with a clean and intuitive interface that enables organizations to deploy the solution at once—a must for any department that is becoming overwhelmed by relentlessly accumulating video files. The platform is also affordable especially when you consider what Taser charges for both licensing and storage ($2.7 million over five years for Ft. Worth). A simple subscription model allows organizations to be invoiced for actual storage used without separate licensing charges.
Equally important, MetaStor will help you with data retention management, ensuring regulatory compliance and minimizing risks and lost files.