City Cops Get High Tech with DVDs
In the past, if Trenton cops wanted to
review a tape of a 911 call that was crucial
to an investigation, they would have to
call Tom Peterman, the administrative
supervisor for the city''s communication
center - who would then have to look
through hours of VHS tapes in search of
a single call. Sometimes, it would take
"It was like a fishing expedition."
But those long searches are now over,
as the department last month began using
the Connecticut-based Dictaphone Corp.''s
Freedom digital recording system, which
allows it to record its emergency
communications on DVD discs.
Now, Freedom allows dispatchers to
access the last half hour of recordings
themselves and lets officials easily research
recordings - so that an entire police
incident can be reconstructed on tape
within a matter of minutes and Peterman
can get his sleep.
"If a critical call has to be replayed, it
can," said Detective Maurice Crosby, the
police department''s network administrator.
"Before, they would have to have Tom
Peterman come in from home to find
The system records the calls on a DVD
disc, which can hold 20 days of
communication center calls --about 20
times as much as a single VHS tape --
without any human intervention.
The city''s communication center had
been searching for something better when
officials went to Dictaphone headquarters
looking for another recording system
earlier this year.
They didn''t come away with anything,
Crosby said, as technology that allowed
the communications center to store
recordings digitally and make them
network-compatible didn''t exist.
But some time later; Dictaphone officials
approached Trenton and advised them that
a new system --the Freedom system -- that
could easily meet their needs was in the
Trenton was initially turned down as a
testing site, but Dictaphone officials later
reconsidered after a concerted effort by
Crosby and fire department network
coordinator Don Kanka.
Now, Trenton and the city of Bethel,
Conn. are testing the system, which is
expected to be fully released sometime in
the near future. About 40 orders have been
placed for the system, said Dictaphone
spokesman Robert Wick -- 30 from the
public safety sector and 10 from the
financial sector. The product hasn''t been
officially priced yet, Wick said, but its
estimated cost is about $1,000 a channel
-- which would work out to about $120,000