Where do the good ideas come from? In this column, we offer our readers the opportunity to learn about—and benefit from—some of the cutting-edge technologies being implemented by law enforcement colleagues around the world.
Video Forensic System Advance Investigations for Omaha Police Department
The Omaha, Nebraska, Police Department addresses crime by adopting new technologies that advance investigations and identify hot spots. One recent technology adoption was the deployment of the VideoFOCUS Pro, a video forensics system from Salient Stills. The Omaha Police Department purchased VideoFOCUS Pro with help from the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program.
Criminalist Todd Petrick looked at several video forensics systems and found that a lot of training was required. “The ability to jump in and use VideoFOCUS Pro with minimal training was the deciding factor,” he said. In addition to ease of use, Petrick needed a video forensic system that had the ability to capture and process digital video feeds.
Petrick and his team have found Video-FOCUS Pro can easily capture and export video from dozens of proprietary digital video formats through innovative processing algorithms. The team liked the ability to quickly review each camera view frame by frame. Though the department does have one other video forensics system, most digital captures are done using Video-FOCUS Pro, which also processes the majority of digital video evidence.
Petrick shared a recent example of Video-FOCUS Pro helping to solve a series of robberies and burglaries. Using crime scene videos processed by the system, the team was able to link the crimes, based on facial features and tattoos visible in clear stills generated by VideoFOCUS Pro. In one still, unique tattoos could be seen on a suspect’s head and hand. Other stills showed similar clothing worn by the suspects. Based on video evidence, the Omaha Police Department was able to connect the crimes and identify the suspects.
The system has been used to develop leads and identify suspects for federal prosecutors and smaller police departments in Nebraska and Iowa.
For more information, visit http://www.salientstills.com/videofocus/stories/omaha.html.
Pano Remote Virtual Desktops Save Money and Time for Denton Police
Paul Desjardins, systems architect for the city of Denton, Texas, has adopted virtualization to cut costs in the data center. When the time came to replace the computers installed in Denton police vehicles, Desjardins looked to virtual desktops to save money on computers and provide officers with something mobile, durable, and secure. Desjardin created virtual desktops on the server for each officer, and then enabled them to connect using their old, stripped-down laptops. Each officer had a Pano Remote, a secure USB drive preconfigured with software that enables end users to access their desktop-virtual machines from any network-connected Windows computer.
The difference has been huge. Desjardins said officers could not use their old laptops to access specific, server-based documents and forms that were needed to complete reports and paperwork. Instead, they had to cobble together notes and produce draft documents in the field and then recreate the material back at the station in the required forms, often after hours.
“Patrol officers are now able to do their reporting, records management, and even file sharing—something they couldn’t do before—from the field, and they love it,” said Desjardins. “Having Pano Remote has cut down the amount of time they have to spend off duty doing paperwork or driving to the station during their shift to fill out forms, making them more productive and able to spend more time in the field, improving public safety.”
A major goal was finding significant cost savings and a solution that would also provide some major benefit for the end user, and Pano Logic helped achieve that.
For more information, visit http://www.panologic.com.
VNC Remote Access Software Enables Law Enforcement Officers to Minimize Downtime and Stay in the Field
The Alexandria, Virginia, Police Department (APD) is deploying the VNC Enterprise Edition to over 330 mobile computers, providing a more effective method of information technology (IT) troubleshooting that keeps officers out in the community.
The APD Tactical Computer Section has a small team of three IT technicians tasked with the challenge of supporting all 330 mobile computers used by police officers in the field. The computers allow officers to receive vital, up-to-the-minute information and submit incident reports. Any downtime of these computers previously meant a trip back to base or radioing a technician for help.
By deploying the VNC Enterprise Edition to provide IT support remotely, the APD Tactical Computer Section has established an effective means of troubleshooting and has improved officers’ confidence in technology—officers now can see problems being fixed in real time, allowing them to remain out in the community. With downtime reduced, the section will also see savings in its IT support costs.
“Real VNC came highly recommended by other law enforcement bodies,” said APD Sergeant Jim Craige, Tactical Computer Section. “VNC has enabled us to give better support to our users and, most importantly, keep our officers out in the community. It is an invaluable tool that has provided us with an excellent return on investment.” ■
For more information, visit http://www.realvnc.com/products/enterprise/index.html.