Search tool can speed review of police camera video
More police than ever before are wearing body cameras, so there’s going to be a lot more video to review. In late September, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded grants totaling over $20 million to 106 state, city, tribal and municipal law enforcement agencies to establish and enhance law enforcement body-worn camera programs across the U.S.
In July, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office in New Orleans signed a two-year contract with Vu Digital, a Jackson, Miss.-based video metadata company, to use a completely searchable video review tool. The tool relies on S.M.A.R.R.T. (Storage Metadata Automated Redaction Review Technology) that uses algorithms to decipher and tag data.
The system reduces the time needed to search through the hundreds of hours of video and audio produced daily by police officers who wear body cameras while on patrol. The tool simplifies video and audio management. The systems saves up to 80 percent of the staff hours needed to review and manage body cam video and audio evidence, according to the company. Go here for more information on law enforcement applications. Below on the left is a screenshot of the system.
GPN reached out to Gregory Sandifer, a project specialist at Vu Digital, to learn more about his firm’s system. Sandifer’s views are below.
GPN: Some chiefs say sorting through all that video to find the evidence takes a lot of time—is time-saving what your solution offers?
Gregory Sandifer: Yes, we tell people that our technology helps you find the needle in the haystack a lot quicker than manually watching each video—and having to manually search each video and having to search and find that video evidence. We take those small dialogs that are spoken in the video, and we reduce it to text. We time-stamp every piece of data that we capture. In our interface, S.M.A.R.R.T. is the solution. It’s a web-based solution so you can pull up the video that you are looking for, and within that video you can search for key terms. Users can look up the terms and the system will take you to that exact point in time in the video. So if you are examining a 45-minute video, if you can search on key words, you might be able to cut down that review time from 45 minutes to 10 minutes. When you extrapolate those time-savings over thousands of hours of video, you can already see the value in what we provide to either district attorneys or police departments.
GPN: Your firm’s setup is cutting-edge in video search technology?
GS: Yes it is. It’s a cloud-based distributed system. All of our recognition capabilities are algorithm-based. They are all proprietary.
GPN: Does your system work equally well on local servers or cloud-based systems?
GS: Yes, right now we are cloud-based, so we are a hosted solution. And we are working towards an on-premise model to where we can hand over the keys to the solution to the police department if they have their own servers.
GPN: Does this system have applications in video surveillance as well, or for traffic monitoring. The system has uses beyond police body cameras?
GS: Yes, the system has applications beyond police cams and beyond surveillance. We work with content providers and other users. The system is suited for anybody that’s looking to get away from manually tagging video.