Covering a 2,400 square kilometre area with 110,000 residents, the Chatham-Kent Police Service (CKPS) is dedicated to making its community the safest in Ontario, Canada. With a force of 171 officers and 70 civilian employees, the CKPS has been adopting new technologies to better protect the public and ultimately, prevent crime in its community. Consequently, the CKPS has deployed the Avigilon High Definition (HD) Surveillance System at its headquarters to boost security onsite and deliver detailed, solid evidence to the court to meet disclosure requirements and achieve an overall higher rate of conviction.
After facing several insurmountable challenges with its previous video surveillance system, including inflexible and unreliable hardware and a lack of local support, the CKPS decided to deploy a new, more advanced HD surveillance system to enhance staff safety, secure assets including firearms and other resources, protect the mission-critical IT infrastructure at the 911 control centre, and monitor prisoners in the holding areas.
“We wanted to augment our existing security plan with added video surveillance of both the interior and exterior of our 6,000 square metre building for greater overall protection,” explained Inspector Tim Mifflin of the CKPS. “It is also our responsibility to monitor prisoners for court purposes and provide reliable—and useable—video evidence. With the new Avigilon HD Surveillance System, we are far better equipped to successfully meet our disclosure requirements.”The CKPS has installed two Avigilon HD network video recorders (NVRs) with automatic failover
Facilitating video evidence collection
Working closely with the team at SECURaGLOBE Solutions, a provider of surveillance system design, installation, and service, the CKPS assessed three video surveillance systems. “After careful review and unanimous support from our board, Avigilon was quickly identified as the best surveillance solution to help us improve security onsite and provide the courts with the best evidence possible to successfully meet our disclosure requirements,” said Inspector Mifflin. “Avigilon won based on performance, cost, and ease-of-operation.”
Officers and administrators at the CKPS seamlessly manage the Avigilon HD Surveillance System using Avigilon Control Center network video management software (NVMS) with HD stream management (HDSM) and installed 12 Avigilon analogue video encoders to dramatically improve the performance of its existing 48 analogue cameras.
The CKPS has also installed two Avigilon HD network video recorders (NVRs) with automatic failover to store 30 days of continuous surveillance video with greater reliability and redundancy. According to Inspector Mifflin, installation was simple and straightforward. “SecuraGlobe and Avigilon worked together to provide excellent support and training on the new system.”The Avigilon HD Surveillance System is able to deliver more precise synchronisation
Accurate audio-video synchronisation
To help meet stringent court disclosure requirements and provide the most reliable evidence possible, the CKPS needed to improve its audio recording capabilities to ensure precise audio/video synchronisation of surveillance footage. “Along with video, well-synched audio is essential to our ability to provide useable evidence to the court,” explained Shannon Postma, information systems technician at the CKPS, who has installed microphones in common areas to record suspects throughout the legal process. With its previous system, audio and video was not well-synched, often leading to the inadmissibility of evidence in court.
The Avigilon HD Surveillance System is able to deliver more precise synchronisation because it is a complete, end-to-end solution engineered to ensure that all data is accurately time-stamped. “With Avigilon’s superior synchronisation capabilities, we can now provide the best evidence possible.”
Avigilon Control Center software’s advanced functionality and simple management tools have also been a key selling feature for the CKPS
Postma can also create a standardised format to facilitate audio transcription that is compatible with the Police Service’s dictation system, something they were not previously able to do without a lot of time and effort. “Before installing the Avigilon HD Surveillance System, we would have to physically play the tape, hit pause, and transcribe the audio by hand—an extremely time-consuming task,” said Postma.It takes one tenth the time to search, playback, identify, and copy video to create a file to be used in court
Enhanced functionality with reduced response time
Avigilon Control Center software’s advanced functionality and simple management tools have also been a key selling feature for the CKPS, especially when it comes to improving their evidence collection abilities. “When I create a video using Avigilon Control Center software, I can easily pinpoint an incident, overlay comments, include incident numbers, and even create a PDF of the exact detail required, dramatically improving our ability to provide full and accurate disclosure,” said Postma.
Using their former surveillance system, a CKPS employee would have to pull video from the system and review footage by hand to identify an event, which was very labour intensive. “With our previous system, it would take the better part of a full time employee’s day to review and prepare footage for court,” explained Inspector Mifflin. “Now, that employee can be redeployed to other functions that will boost security throughout the community.”
According to Postma, Avigilon Control Center’s powerful functionality and search capabilities are tenfold better than her previous system, as is overall image clarity. “It literally takes one tenth the time to search, playback, identify, and copy video to create a file to be used in court—a huge selling point for me,” noted Postma. And while the previous system claimed to deliver precise image detail, the hardware was unable to keep up, making evidence collection difficult.
“Avigilon Control Center software is very, very capable of doing what I need it to do to help me be as successful in my job as possible.” Using Avigilon Control Center software, Postma is also able to assign limited functionality to specific users to reduce the number of individuals involved in the manipulation of evidence, further ensuring its integrity for court purposes.Avigilon’s use of JPEG2000 compression technology dramatically increases image capture quality
Reliability in high-risk environments
Avigilon’s rich feature set and easy management tools have resulted in greater operational efficiencies and improved overall productivity for the CKPS. “With the Avigilon HD Surveillance system installed, we immediately save personnel time,” stated Inspector Mifflin. “In the long term, the Avigilon HD Surveillance System will become a routine function of the lock-up officer, freeing up time for the IT services team and forensic identification unit, who have until now been the system’s main users.”
According to Postma, the Avigilon HD Surveillance System has already saved her valuable time. “I am confident that the system is up and running all the time, so I no longer spend unnecessary time checking on the system,” she said. In addition, Avigilon’s use of JPEG2000 compression technology dramatically increases image capture quality and intelligently manages the progressive transmission of images at variable resolution to reduce bandwidth requirements and associated storage costs.
Working in a high-risk environment in which police officers are interacting with suspects and prisoners around the clock, the CKPS identified reliability as a top requirement for its new surveillance system. Configured with two network video recorders installed in a secure server room, the Avigilon HD Surveillance System promises automatic failover and complete redundancy.
“With up to 2,000 prisoners annually in our holding cells, it is critical that our surveillance system stay up and running all the time – it simply cannot go down,” explained Postma. “The fact that Avigilon delivers a solution with automatic failover and full redundancy was a huge selling point for me.”
By deploying the Avigilon HD Surveillance System, the CKPS can deliver irrefutable, conclusive evidence on which to confirm and convict, leaving little room for doubt. “The Avigilon HD Surveillance System is a building block for us as we expand our security initiatives to add surveillance at remote service centres and implement criminal and general surveillance across our jurisdiction for greater overall protection,” concluded Inspector Mifflin. “With Avigilon in place, we can confidently deliver on our promise to provide a safer community for all our residents.”