County greenlights body cameras
Just 2 minutes of video consumes 50 megabytes, so imagine what storing 12,000 videos a week involves.
That’s the number the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department collects, Undersheriff Paul Howell said on Thursday.
“It produces the kind of gigabytes and terabytes and bytes we’ve never seen before,” he said.
On Thursday, county commissioners approved a five-year, $573,201, contract with Axon Enterprises to implement body cameras for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
Axon was the best of the vendors, Howell said, and was the only one that included in-house redaction capabilities.
“Everyone else you have to buy external redaction software,” he said. “The contract is all-inclusive. There are no upgrade costs. If they patch their software, there’s no additional increase.”
Under the warranty, the company will replace a camera damaged in the line of duty.
The camera uses a magnet to attach it to a deputy’s vest, making it less obtrusive than its competitor.
Howell said Douglas did the work regionally for Carson City and other departments, which helped in reducing the estimated cost by $160,000.
“Carson City is piggybacking on our research,” he said. “Axon said ‘if you all jump on together, we can do a joinder.’ That took quite a bit off the cost they quoted us.”
Howell said now that the contract was awarded he can wrap up working on the office’s policy for handling data storage.
The length of time a video is kept will depend on the disposition of the call.
An officer-involved shooting, for instance, will be stored for a century, likely long after everyone involved is dead.
Arrests would be kept for 10 years and citations for five years.
He said there is a means to sequester videos that contain sensitive or medical information.
“Deputies will have to get authorization from a command officer to erase a video,” he said.
Deputies won’t be packing the cameras for another three or four months at least. The sheriff’s office is in the process of hiring a system administrator for the project. Axon and the administrator will develop a rollout schedule.
Howell said one shift will be first to implement the cameras to debug the system.
“This is the wave of the future,” Howell said. “We’ve got a lot of trust in the community. If the state hadn’t mandated it, we would have been coming forward with something. This is a public expectation now.”
Sheriff Ron Pierini thanked his office for their work on the project.
“I think we can do better by being able to see these situations happen,” he said. “I think you’ll find our deputies do a great job.”