CIO Reports: Maricopa Co. & Next Generation Video Surveillance

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office protects one of the country’s fastest-growing areas. Video surveillance systems in its jails couldn’t keep up with the growth — or the times. Find out why the department turned to fully integrated security controls and big data storage.

Video surveillance pops up all over the globe – and not just to identify suspects in crimes or terrorist activities. Retail stores use video surveillance to record customers’ shopping patterns. County governments watch traffic flow for better road design. Schools and corporations monitor classrooms and offices. Police officers now wear body cameras. Video is everywhere, capturing millions of hours of activity.

The Maricopa County (Az.) Sheriff’s Office is the third largest sheriff agency in the United States, with an average of 8,500 inmates continuously monitored. MCSO captures and records all activities within the facility 24/7. Maintaining high-quality security with outdated equipment and amid massive growth – the current populationof 4 million has quadrupled since 1970 and nearly doubled since 1990 – was becoming a nightmare.

With its legacy video surveillance system, it took two days for the office to retrieve just 30 minutes of pixilated, out-of-focus footage that made identifying the crime scene and the perpetrators increasingly difficult, if not almost impossible. In addition, technical problems persisted – corrupted tapes, malfunctioning cameras, random network disconnects from equipment and ongoing system failures.

Options: Video Surveillance Upgrade or Replacement?

Considering Maricopa County’s reputation as one of the most technology advanced counties in the United States, these frequent issues had to be resolved. Sixty days to identify, access and retrieve 30 days’ worth of video surveillance data was unacceptable, not to mention a time luxury the sheriff’s office couldn’t afford. In many investigations, data had to be retrieved within hours, even minutes.

 

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