The first body-worn cameras used by law enforcement were introduced around 2005 in the United Kingdom. By 2014, they were gaining traction in the United States, helping to add a layer of both protection and accountability for officers. As their use rapidly spread, it became evident almost immediately that their benefits brought with them a new challenge for agencies: storing and managing the massive amounts of data now being captured. For agencies, stored data is now typically measured in petabytes (1,000 TB) rather than the terabytes (1,000 GB) they had been capturing from in-car systems.
At the same time, cloud storage solutions have become more available and widely used by every type of organization to manage their rapidly expanding data storage and management needs. For law enforcement, cloud solutions provide a number of important benefits.
Secure data storage and back up
It is an often-used rule of thumb that data storage requirements double every two years. Since those needs are now being measured in petabytes, this is a very real and pressing problem. Cloud providers solve this issue for law enforcement by delivering a scalable solution that accommodates the need for continually increasing storage capacities.
Maintaining the integrity and security of video evidence and other data is a critical requirement. Data stored in the massive data centers owned by the cloud providers is far more secure than it would be if it were stored locally on an officer’s device or on an in-car system or department server. Cloud data storage providers have the highest standards for cybersecurity and threat mitigation. A typical plan also includes backup at more than one geographic location, ensuring data is not compromised even in the event of a disaster. In order to sell services to law enforcement agencies, the cloud company must comply with Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) regulations.
Managing evidence collection and storage
With the massive volume of new video footage from body-worn cameras and in-car systems, there is a huge quantity of evidence that requires digital storage. Some states may also have regulations regarding minimum retention time for video from body-worn cameras and in-car systems (for example, in Texas, police camera footage must be retained for at least 90 days).
Other kinds of evidence being stored may include photographs, police reports and fingerprints, among other information. The evidence may originate from a wide variety of sources. During the course of a single case, this evidence may need to be shared with numerous parties, all of whom require authentication any time they want to access the data.
The best technology to address these needs within a cloud framework should provide complete flexibility when it comes to managing the collection and storage of evidence. This includes the ability for officers and investigators to propagate, gather and maintain digital evidence from a variety of sources. The user should be able to review and share video and other data easily and conveniently from within their evidence management application.
Documentation and chain of custody
Evidence used in arrests and trials is sometimes subject to authentication challenges. With the ease of creating deepfakes and other types of fabricated evidence, it is essential that law enforcement agencies maintain verifiable oversight of evidence at all times. The best cloud solutions for law enforcement enable you to retain complete ownership of all evidence and metadata with audit trails that log all user actions. This provides the documentation needed to prove any questions about chain of custody.
A Cost-Effective and Secure Solution for Law Enforcement
The amount of highly sensitive video collected and managed by public safety and law enforcement agencies will continue to grow, so will the need for a secure, scalable solution to store it. A cloud-based evidence management system can deliver an ideal solution, streamlining operations while protecting data and individuals’ privacy.
i-PRO partnered with Genetec to offer CloUDE powered by Genetec, the digital evidence management solution that provides law enforcement agencies with added the versatility of storing evidence on-site and/or in the cloud. From video capture to evidence storage and sharing, you can count on i-PRO to support your agency with a complete end-to-end digital evidence solution for law enforcement.