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software. “They didn’t think, ‘Uh-oh, what happens when we give 2,000 body cams to a police department and they’re recording for the entirety of a shift?’”
The challenges affect police departments of all sizes. “Large departments will have dedicat- ed evidence-handling people, and so we make their job easier and flexible,” said Tom Guzik, CEO of IRSA Video, which part- nered with ruggedized device maker Getac to deliver com- prehensive police video man- agement systems. But he added that the majority of the 18,000 police departments have staffs of 50 or less, which means they are struggling to find the re- sources to deal with video re- daction. “It’s usually someone’s responsibility, so we make it easier for them to actually do the task.”
A lack of expertise is the main obstacle to fulfilling FOI requests, said Ed Claughton, president of PRI Management Group, a consulting firm that specializes in information man- agement for law enforcement agencies.
Since then, the company has added algorithms to redact footage from cameras in mo- tion — such as body cams — and is getting ready to launch the latest version this spring with audio redaction and mod- ulation, improved tracking, and a faster workflow for de- coding and encoding video.
To use Ikena Spotlight, an of- ficial opens a video file through the Windows-based software program and then selects the time range needed. The soft- ware works like a video player but has an interface that lets users click on the objects to redact. Officials can select the type of redaction — blur or black out, for example — and when they’re done, the soft- ware saves the redacted video to the hard drive.
It works on any computer, but Varah said some depart- ments opt to run the software on high-performing machines because of the computing ca- pacity required.
“There’s a fair amount of compute required in doing this kind of sophisticated tracking or any kind of redaction be- cause when you do redaction, you basically have to decode
the video, you’ve got to process all the pixels through the processor of the computer and then you’ve got to re- enter the video out to disk again,” he said.
“These body cams are very high- resolution,” he added. “Some of them are 720p or even 1,080p so that’s 2 megapixels per frame. It’s an enor- mous amount of data.”
Varah said that although some ven- dors push automation, the human el- ement is crucial. “Because redaction requirements are different in every
Video redaction, by the numbers
the amount the NYPD billed cable news channel NY1 to review, redact and copy 190 hours of footage
$120 per hour /
304 hours
the rate and time NYPD said it took to complete the request
the amount of money the Justice Department gave police departments to buy 50,000 body-worn cameras
cost of a three-year program to determine the effectiveness of body-worn cameras
50 or less
the staff size of most of the country’s 18,000 police departments
fulfilling FOI requests in a timely fashion while adhering to privacy re- quirements. As a quick fix, some de- partments use commercially available video-editing software such as Adobe Premiere.
Even simpler is the Custom Blurring tool that YouTube released in February that lets users blur any object in mo- tion. But more targeted solutions are cropping up.
MotionDSP began making Ikena Spotlight about five years ago to re- dact video from surveillance cameras.
“The biggest thing that we’re
seeing is that [police depart- ments] don’t have the time or the re- sources or the expertise to be able to redact the footage according to what the law requires,” Claughton said. “Believe it or not, we’ve seen agen- cies that don’t give out the record at all. Conversely, I’ve seen agencies that give out the entire view unredacted. Both of those approaches would be violations of the law.”
Police departments are turning to vendors to help ease the burden of
52 GCN MAY 2016 • GCN.COM

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