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April 21, 2005

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Tuscaloosa, Ala., PD Purchases Latest Digital Video Technology from Kustom Signals to Protect its Citizens and its Officers

Kustom Signals The Tuscaloosa, Alabama Police Department has been using in-car video for many years to serve as evidence for citizens who may have a complaint as well as protecting their officers against false claims. The department is now replacing their existing VHS in-car video cameras with new digital systems from Kustom Signals. The department decided to convert to digital technology because according to Chief Ken Swindle, "The video quality with digital is much greater than analog, VHS tapes take up too much storage space and the digital files can be played back with a standard PC." Additionally another advantage to digital over VHS is the pre-event recording feature. The system's memory buffer automatically captures up to three minutes of video prior to record activation. If an officer witnesses a vehicle crossing the center line or running a red light before the recorder is activated, this video evidence is automatically captured and recorded. This powerful evidence can save court time and potentially money by quickly verifying what happened.

Tuscalossa is currently storing their files for 90 days, but eventually may store them up to one year. The department chose Kustom Signals' Digital Eyewitness Media Manager (DEMM), back-office digital video storage and management system, to store, transfer, search, retrieve and copy their video files. The system consists of a server, SQL database, and workstation(s). "We wanted a central server to store all video files in one location and these files can be kept there for an indefinite period of time. Additionally, since each video file is cataloged by date, time, officer name and unit number, file searching is quick and easy. When we need to take evidence to court, we can duplicate our files to CD, DVD or even VHS tape," says Chief Swindle. "We really like the DEMM's ability to distort a video image for playback without showing an individual's face or vehicle tag number and the ability to lighten dark areas and zoom in on a particular area of the video."

When choosing the DEMM for storage and file management, Tuscaloosa reviewed many other vendor's systems, but chose the Kustom Signals' system because "We liked the security of it. A chain of custody and evidence integrity is maintained with authorized users' passwords," said Brian Oswald. "It's a wonderful tool and it's so easy and simple to use."

For nearly 40 years, Kustom Signals, Inc. has been a world leader in the design, manufacture and sale of digital and VHS in-car video, radar, laser, and speed monitoring/message sign trailers. For more information, please visit

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