Cities across the United States are rolling out Body Worn Camera (BWC) programs to record police interactions and activities throughout officers’ shifts. With a need to be able to review footage from the BWCs and ensure the integrity of footage in chain of custody for civil and criminal cases how are police departments managing this significant task?

In a recent interview on WAMU DC Metropolitan Police Chief, Peter Newsham, shared that the department’s decision to adopt a BWC program was one of the most lengthy and costly programs undertaken. “It’s not an inexpensive program,” he shared “and it was a two and a half year process” to make decisions and roll out the infrastructure required to ensure that the BWC program is highly effective.

With more than two thousand cameras in operation across the district gathering data on a near continuous basis over a 24 hour period, the biggest challenge Chief Newsham and the Metropolitan PD’s IT department face is how to store and retain data so that it is secure to the highest chain of custody standards but can be accessed as needed for internal review, training, and, of course, used in investigation and prosecution of crimes.

But while body worn camera programs certainly present some challenges these are not insurmountable according to Bob Burwell, CTO at NetApp U.S. Public Sector. “Working with a partner that has experience in planning complex data management environments that prioritize security and privacy is the first step,” he shared.

“Police IT Departments must expand their IT infrastructure to the cloud to support increased storage requirements and enable continuous access to video evidence with high reliability, availability, and integrity” he continued.

The good news is that these requirements, along with the addition of data backup and recovery plans, can all be facilitated with today’s integrated data management infrastructure. Burwell advised that IT leaders will want to look for a solution that can “accelerate performance, is customizable and flexible, and that can connect to the cloud to enable cost-effective backup and recovery.”

Think that’s an impossible requirements list?

Questions about how to fund a BWC program? You can find the latest on grants here.