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TASER unveils ambitious digital video evidence management system
By Kevin L. Jones
PoliceOne Jr. Product Editor
After years of helping cops win physical conflicts, TASER is turning its attention to diminishing the harm of the legal conflicts that invariably follow. The company today announced “TASER 3.0,” the combination of the TASER AXON, a networkable audio and video evidence capturing device, with EVIDENCE.com, billed as an “integrated digital multi-media evidence storage and management platform.”
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Manifested in legal battles through costs, time, and failure to convict criminals, the management of digital evidence has been an increasing burden on law enforcement. TASER hopes to solve the problem by combining the two solutions to securely organize, store, analyze, and manage digital multi-media evidence collected by officers in the field.
“We know now that bringing in the suspect is not the end of the conflict,” TASER International CEO Rick Smith said during the company’s live Webinar Tuesday morning.
Calling EVIDENCE.com an ‘end-to-end solution’ for video evidence, Smith said that the new system “could potentially replace the need for pencil-pushing all together.”
Because it exists online, EVIDENCE.com eliminates the need for locally-installed software. Instead of downloading Axon videos onto a computer hard drive, the files are placed in an Evidence Transfer Manager, or ETM, which uploads the video to EVIDENCE.com’s several massive data servers, stationed all over the United States. There, the video becomes accessible (or at least as accessible as the officer wants) to other law enforcement agencies that subscribe to the site for a monthly fee.
Smith also highlighted the speed with which TASER 3.0, which is installed as a service by TASER employees, can be deployed. He said that even for larger agencies, TASER 3.0needs only a few weeks to be installed.
Smith also demonstrated the AXON, a lightweight video recording system for law enforcement officers that originally debuted last year. The device, which captures video and audio from the immediate perspective of the officer, allows what the officer hears and sees to be reviewed by a third party.
“With AXON, we come as close as humanly possible to the officer’s perspective,” Smith said, mentioning that the reasonable officer standard can be communicated better when it comes from the reasonable officer’s perspective.
Though no agency is currently using the AXON, Smith used the Webinar to demonstrate recent improvements to the device. They included a larger screen that's also a touch screen, and a head mount for the camera, as opposed to the adjustable ear piece that the device debuted with in May of 2008.
EVIDENCE.com is being architected to accept video from multiple sources, a TASER spokesperson told PoliceOne. For version 1.0 of EVIDENCE.com, only video acquired through AXON will be “uploadable” to EVIDENCE.com. But version subsequent versions will have the ability to store, secure and manage video from other sources, such as in-car video.
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Precisely how video will be uploaded to EVIDENCE.com from an in-car video device depends on how the in-car video system works, the TASER spokesperson said. “If the device can be connected through a laptop or desktop computer, we will have the ability to securely upload digital video from an in-car video system to EVIDENCE.com via any agency approved computer. If it’s not digital video, we will have to look at those situations on a case by case basis.”
Because the video is automatically digitized and uploaded to the Web, it can be manipulated just like any other data. EVIDENCE.com provides a geo-spatial application, similar to Google Earth, for officers that takes all of the uploaded video and enters it into a map of where the incident occurred. Through this program, investigators can see where the crime occurred, as well as see if, where, and when other incidents happened that could be related — making it easier to identify trends. If there were multiple officers at the scene wearing AXONs, supervisors and prosecutors can create a composite using the different views as they analyze the incident.
Today’s full webcast can be viewed online here
TASER is currently providing assistance for departments applying for grants to purchase Axons and Evidence.com services. For more information, email granthelp@TASER.com or go to www.TASERpromo.com/evidence-com.