Body-worn cameras are powerful devices that have the potential to transform policing for the better. Many people believe that the use of body-worn cameras improves the behavior of police officers and the public, increases safety, and promotes transparency, building trust and fostering better relationships between police and the communities they serve.
According to a recent survey by the Police Executive Research Forum, more than 80% of agencies are using or are planning to use body-worn cameras. However, some departments are putting their body-worn camera programs on hold because of unaffordable costs. Much of this expense is due to improper sizing of the data storage environment.
Before deploying your body-worn camera solution, do some upfront work to determine what you really need. Here are three things to consider when sizing your body-worn camera environment:
- What quality of imagery is required? Who needs your images? If images are designed to go to court, they need to be of acceptable forensic quality. 75 pixels per foot is usually sufficient. Out of the box, most cameras are set for 1080 pixels at 30 frames per second, which adds up to 7GB to 9GB per hour (versus ~1GB or less per hour for 75 pixels). Do you need that coverage? If not, you’re paying to store eight to nine times the amount of data necessary to accomplish a normal mission. To keep costs down, you need to test and adjust your cameras so that you can more accurately size your environment.
- How much data do your devices generate over a given period? Our own internal studies show that the average body-worn camera records between 1.75 and 3 hours of data per 8-hour shift when officers are allowed to turn the cameras on and off according to policies. (See the Bureau of Justice Assistance Body-Worn Camera Toolkit for best practices guidelines.) Depending on camera settings, a single body-worn camera might generate anywhere from 600GB to 1.2TB of data per year.
- How long do you need to retain that data for compliance? The typical retention period is 90 to 180 days for everything, and up to 5 years for evidentiary video. Your jurisdiction can make decisions about what works best for you.
Body-worn cameras play an important role in policing—for both the public and the police officers. However, deploying an affordable body-worn camera solution can be challenging. To reduce costs, start by properly sizing your storage environment.
The NetApp® E-Series video surveillance storage solutions provide cost-effective, fast, reliable video storage that is easy to deploy, manage, and scale. Our experts have the knowledge, skills, and tools to help rightsize your environment. We work with leading channel partners to provide turnkey body-worn camera solutions that include hardware, software, setup, installation, and support.
Learn more about NetApp data storage solutions for body-worn cameras.