April 11, 2013
Brewer PD Improves Evidence Capture with TOUGHBOOK ARBITRATOR 360o™ Enhancing Evidence Management with IP Video Capabilities
In light of recent budget and resource cuts, agencies are struggling with limited funds for the purchase of new technology to fight crime and improve officer safety. As a result, agencies are considering alternative methods of acquiring funds to purchase and/or upgrade equipment. The Brewer (ME) Police Department was fortunate enough to obtain the needed funds in a different way.
The Brewer PD is a full service police department with 21 sworn, full- time officers assigned to a variety of jobs that include the Patrol and Detective Divisions, School Resource Officers (SRO), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Task Force, as well as Administration. Due to an increase in illegal activity within the city, the agency required a technology solution that delivered proven value in its evidence collection capabilities.
“Our positive experience with the Panasonic Toughbook® computers was one of the reasons we looked at video solutions from Panasonic,” said Deputy Chief Jason Moffitt. “We felt comfortable with the Panasonic brand because they stand behind their products.”
Reducing Crimes and Increasing Arrests with Video Solution
Brewer PD has relied on in-car cameras since the mid-1990s, but each system they deployed eventually succumbed to the rigors of police use. They needed a solution that could withstand the harsh Maine weather, as well as other variables that impacts in-car equipment including dust and vibration.
As a result of an asset forfeiture-seizure account created by the City Council in April 2004, the department had the funds to purchase new video systems. Therefore, the Brewer PD deployed Toughbook Arbitrator 360°™ in-car digital video systems to five of the department’s patrol vehicles. Prior to this deployment, the department lacked evidence capture capabilities to improve prosecution rates. This new solution provides officers with a reliable and rugged system that improves conviction rates, exonerates officers facing excessive force claims and delivers tamper-proof chain of custody evidence requirements.
“It’s a great tool for liability purposes. If people make a complaint on an officer, we have everything on video so we can quickly and reliably see what really happened,” said Moffitt.
Evidence management is also an important feature for the department. The back-end system allows officers to access video evidence from anytime, anywhere with consistent, automatic uploads.
“Being able to access the server from any computer terminal in the station is a huge advantage,” said Moffitt. “From an evidence management standpoint, it’s tough to beat that. It’s all done wirelessly so that’s a big deal for us.”
With the Toughbook Arbitrator 360°, the Brewer PD now has a reliable and rugged video system to capture critical evidence to combat criminal activity and resolve potential disputes, allowing its officers to further protect the citizens of the community.