Articles by Ian Ehrenberg
Body worn cameras help to provide better evidence documentation, increased accountability and transparency in law enforcement Forensic recordings – or the audio and video recordings from 911 calls, traffic cameras, CCTV systems and more – are virtually everywhere. However, in most cases the devices are static and fixed and often do not provide immediate or real-time information on incidents or pending threats. For example, the Boston Marathon bombers were seen on multiple cameras after video feeds following the incident were analysed – but those forensic recordings did not help in preventing the tragedy or providing more real-time information. Shooting of Michael Brown Technology continues to transform our lives, and is changing the way law enforcement officials do their jobs by providing them with better real-time solutions. Rewind to August 9, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, a 28 year old a white Ferguson police officer. The tragic incident resulted in an uproar of riots and accusations in part because the eye-witness accounts varied drastically. Could the outcome have been different or could the evidence have been clearer, if live situational awareness technology (streaming or recording) had been in place? Variety of BWC applications Two years ago, only a handful of police departments used body worn cameras (BWC). Today, there are various estimates that put the number of law enforcement agencies using, or investigating BWCs at as many as 6,000 out of 18,000 nationwide. The technology helps to provide better evidence documentation, increased accountability and transparency. Estimates put the number of law enforcement agencies using, or investigating BWCs at as many as 6,000 out of 18,000 nationwide The development of body worn solutions was born out of the need to satisfy the growing demand for added surveillance with remote access to live video and GPS location information in overt and covert environments. This technology works to improve security for people in the field, and allows supervisors to coordinate tactical operations involving multiple agents. Bottom line: It gives law enforcement the ability to have dangerous situations or threats contained as quickly and safely as possible for all parties involved. Body worn technology can be used in a variety of ways based on the needs of the application, and installation can vary from a camera mounted chest or shoulder height, helmet mounted camera, attached to a backpack or belt and more. Most recording devices have a lightweight design, weighing only 10.5 ounces or less than an iPad mini. Therefore, it doesn’t add significant weight to the law enforcement officer’s uniform allowing him or her to move quickly and efficiently. Body worn solutions also can be designed with a second head or chest camera, and the battery powered units can contain a removable compact flash card for digital evidential quality recording, which makes the systems ideal for police or agents who require evidential recordings of interactions and interventions with suspects. However, it’s important to note that prior to putting any equipment into everyday use, department officials should complete a policy guiding officers on when to activate the cameras, when not to, who can access the resulting footage and when, and how the collected data will be stored. Additional capabilities of BWCs should include a built-in GPS receiver, so command & control can track and map the exact location of individuals in the field Other advantages BWC users can monitor either live or recorded video and/or audio footage from any remote location via mobile phone connectivity. In addition, the live streamed and recorded video, combined with the bi-directional audio capability, allows an operations command centre to interact with the user on location and assist with the response and/or intervention. Live bi-directional audio and video streaming capability can allow higher ranking officials, who may be remote, to interact and provide assistance in next steps. Live transmission of video and audio can also allow supervisors or a monitoring station staff member to respond proactively and appropriately to the situation at hand. Body worn technology should be designed to operate on all of the latest mobile phone network technology Body worn technology should be designed to operate on all of the latest mobile phone network technology, and can be programmed/interfaced to work with any industry standard camera, including providing the ability to be easily upgraded to meet changing requirements. Additional capabilities should include a built-in GPS receiver, so command & control is able to assist remote law enforcement (emergency responders) by tracking and mapping the exact location of individuals in the field and helping to speed accurate & appropriate assistance. The precise position of multiple agents, combined with their respective live video and audio feeds, allows supervisors to assess a situation in real-time and make decisions accordingly. Finally, access to an alarm button allows agents to notify the supervisor that they need immediate assistance. At the end of an operation, data is easily being backed up for evidential purposes, reducing administration time. What if Officer Darren Wilson had used this technology? Would the vital intelligence that was lacking through witness-only accounts been clearer? Would the outcome have been different? Live situational awareness technology will continue to help both law enforcement and the citizens they are hired to protect and serve.
Technology solutions enhance and make manned guarding moreeffective and efficient the quickest way Most companies believe manned guards can help mitigate disturbances and neutralise situations, while at the same time reducing the chance of criminal activities and/or accidents occurring. However, people cannot be omnipresent or always be in the right place at the right time. When combining manned guards with the power of today’s technology, the results are unmatched. Developments in technology solutions for the security industry have had a positive impact on businesses, customers and employees – in more ways than one. Technology products and solutions are the most efficient and quickest way to enhance and make manned guarding more effective, especially at sites with large perimeters and/or multiple ingress and egress points like gates, doors, windows, loading docks, etc. Faster response time, lower cost By using manned guarding companies coupled with the latest technology solutions, it will help to improve the delivery of information regarding possible threats. By investing in new systems and technology platforms, businesses can enhance their manned guarding protection by providing more pinpoint accuracy on an issue, allowing for faster response time and providing a safer environment for existing manned guards and other employees, while over time reducing the number of guards needed and thereby decreasing costs. Security technology helps to provide reliable perimeter detection, immediate and assured remote visual verification, effective remote prevention capabilities to ward off threats and the right tools to provide situational awareness to first responders to safely and effectively monitor and respond to rising threats. Businesses can enhance theirmanned guarding protectionby providing more pinpointaccuracy on an issue, whileover time reducing the numberof guards needed and therebydecreasing costs Technology is rapidly improving, sometimes so quickly it’s hard to keep up. Today’s technology and remote electronic prevention solutions can provide superior detection verification and allow for remote response with high performance and reliability at a total cost of ownership that is cost effective. Look for solutions that have leveraged years of award-winning onsite, remote and mobile guarding technology experience that enable virtual guard tours at remote sites, increase protection, augment existing guard patrols and/or replaces manned guard patrols entirely. Following are four effective technology solutions to pair with a company’s manned guarding services for enhanced security outcomes: Video content analytics Video content analytics (VCA), which provide the capability to automatically analyse video, range from video motion and audio detection to more advanced systems, including camera tampering detection, people counting and more, and provide high performance intrusion detection using video analytics specifically designed for 24/7/365 outdoor operation. Optimised using footage from thousands of hours of video covering a range of environmental, seasonal and time of day variations, analytics can achieve low false alarm rates while maintaining high detection probability and reliability and add simple “region of interest” configurations for the locations that need the highest level of monitoring. Whether monitoring a yard or creating a virtual fence around a supply depot, technology solutions can deliver performance where it is needed 24/7, quickly and effectively. Look for systems that provide remote access via mobile devices or that run through a Central Monitoring Station (CMS), but that also have dashboard analytics, which can be easily created to measure the performance of a particular site and of individual guards — all benchmarked against targets and key performance indicators. VCA should allow customers to get as granular as they want or need, and trends can be compared to determine performance across an entire enterprise or portfolio. This brings a new level of visibility, transparency and openness to the client/supplier relationship that would have been impossible to imagine 20 years ago. As VCA gets even more sophisticated, the number of applications and the reporting options are expected to grow, making it possible that in the future there will be far less reliance on manned guarding. PIR detectors produce true alarms – no false alarms – with the highest detection reliability Passive infrared response (PIR) detectors PIR detectors help protect large perimeter campuses due to their high precision detection performance, reliability and range. In fact, PIR detectors are capable of identifying human targets by sensing temperature differences between them and the background at distances over 700 feet. These types of detectors are customisable and available in a variety of models to optimally address varying perimeter, performance and budget needs for any size company, and one of their greatest benefits is that they produce true alarms – no false alarms – with the highest detection reliability – allowing guards the ability to quickly resolve any issue accurately. Multi-service gateways Multi-service gateways can transmit, record and do VCA in one single unit for easy management of multiple remote sites and accurate deployment of guards, ultimately, improving efficiency and reducing personnel costs. Multi-Service gateway applications should include the ability to detect loitering, provide remote visual verification as well as real-time intelligence within six seconds of anything from an intruder to smoke detection. A rapid assessment of video alarm images allows responders to quickly identify the alarm cause, optimising real-time intervention while reducing expensive nuisance alarm responses. As VCA gets even moresophisticated, the number ofapplications and the reportingoptions are expected to grow,making it possible that in thefuture there will be far lessreliance on manned guarding Mobile apps Mobile apps for security purposes? Of course. Today, the general consumer can access detection and monitoring apps to see inside their homes directly from their smartphones. Similar mobile apps are now available for remote response and situational awareness purposes for business enterprises, so relying solely on security guards to detect threats around your business no longer makes sense. Now businesses can download Apple applications that provide remote event notification and verification for first responders. It also can alert end-users to provide situational awareness through live and timed access into an end site enabled by a CMS. Most mobile applications are free and can be found in the Apple app store for iPhones and iPads. This technology helps first responders reduce their risk and response time, while allowing end-users the ability to verify an event. Double-knock functionality Intelligent PIRs pointed at each other and linked together via an intrusion control panel or management station deliver “double knock” functionality. By cross zoning two detectors additional sub-zones are created, which can then be used for precise alarm localisation and subsequently camera positioning. This results not only in an ideal image section, but also in fewer false alarms, caused by wild animals or other environmental reasons. Additionally optimally zoomed-in images can be used by video analytic functions of remote multi-service gateway systems for “triple knock” verification and response by operator in an alarm receiving center (ARC). There have been debates about the pros and cons of employing security guards versus buying electronic security measures. Why not have both? The combination of Passive Infrared Response (PIR) detectors, video content analytics, multi-service gateways and mobile apps in conjunction with manned guards not only improves security and threat detection, but also improves effectiveness needed to protect a company’s enterprise while lowering the cost over time.