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Recording Solution Streamlines Police Investigations

Atlanta Software Developer Uses March Networks Software Development Kit to Customize Integrated Video Recording and Case Management Solution

Recording Solution Streamlines Police Investigations
Atlanta Software Developer Uses March Networks Software Development Kit to Customize Integrated Video Recording and Case Management Solution

March Networks video recording technology has been selected as the hardware platform for a law enforcement interview recording and case management solution developed by Atlanta-based software developer, Microception, Inc.

Marketed as VideOversight™, the solution includes one four-camera March Networks recorder per interview room, an archive server and an integrated software application allowing detectives to append notes, attach documents and link related interviews.

"We developed an application called AutoSight that we sell to the automobile industry and were looking for other markets to serve," says Microception President and Chief Operating Officer Karl Parandjuk. "We did some research, met with a number of police departments and came to the conclusion that there was a real need for a law enforcement interview room recording solution."

A few hundred miles south, Detective Mark Weaver of the Clearwater Police Department was also doing some research, but not having very much success. Having recently been appointed to the position of technical support detective responsible for championing the introduction of new technology, Weaver set his sights on an interview recording system "to make life easier" for the department's Investigation Division.

"We met with a lot of vendors, but many of them were trying to make an in-car system work in an interview room environment," he recalls.

Microception's work on VideOversight came up during a meeting with a March Networks sales representative and Weaver followed up with a phone call.

Right Path
"They showed us what they had and we liked what we saw," says Weaver. "They were on the right path and were looking for a beta test partner, so it was a perfect match."

Getting in on the ground floor gave Weaver an opportunity to influence the finished product and provided Microception with valuable input.

The VideOversight solution at the Clearwater Police Department will replace a very basic audio-only recording system in four interview rooms and a VCR system in a fifth interview room reserved for juveniles.

"The system sits on our network so any of the detectives are able to view interviews in progress from their own PCs. They can also pull up interviews from the archives, attach notes and copy everything to CDs from their desktop."

Case notes drawing attention to specific video segments help detectives and lawyers zero in on a confession or significant disclosure, rather than waste time viewing a two-hour interview, observes Weaver.

Video and audio records of interviews with suspects, victims and witnesses provide lawyers, judges and juries with a more complete picture of statements given to police. They add context, protect police officers from accusations of intimidation and streamline the judicial process.

A recent decision in New Jersey mandating video and audio recording of police interviews led to the sale of a VideOversight system before beta testing was completed.

Anxious to achieve compliance with the State Attorney General's Office, Somerville Police Department Technology Coordinator Mike Halperin began researching the market in mid- 2006.

"I started looking to see what was out there and I discovered that most vendors were selling PCs with webcams or DVD camcorders. There was no backup, no fail-safe, no RAID 5."

When Halperin came across a new product announcement for VideOversight in a trade publication, he immediately picked up the phone to learn more about the solution. It was exactly what he was looking for.

"To the best of my knowledge, there's nothing like it out there," he says. "Some departments are buying a DVD camcorder and putting it on a tripod. It will work, but there's a much better way to do it."

Ease of use is a critical factor, observes Halperin.

"Most police officers are not technologically oriented. They're police officers. They're focused on solving crimes and don't have time to learn complicated software, so when I assured them that all they had to do was press a few buttons to record an interview, they started to warm up to it."

Selecting March Networks recording technology for the hardware platform was an easy decision.

A security consultant prior to joining Microception, Parandjuk was familiar with March Networks technology.

"I was hired by a client to do a technical assessment of digital video recording technology several years ago and looked at 30 different systems. It came down to three vendors - March Networks and two others. March Networks was selected because it was the only one that had an available and complete software development kit.

"I'm a big fan of the hardware architecture and I like the Linux operating system," says Parandjuk. "The fact that it's not a PC-based system is a big plus for me."

An updated version of the software incorporating refinements recommended by the Clearwater Police Department is now available for purchase.

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