Increasing Data: The Puzzle Law Enforcement Agencies are Trying to Solve

In today’s world everything is being strapped with a camera: CJIS data increasecars, phones, homes, universities, toothbrushes, refrigerators; nothing is off limits. With the addition of cameras comes a significant increase in the amount of data being stored, especially since most of the cameras are recording 24/7 in high definition (HD).

This is increasingly affecting --and benefiting-- law enforcement agencies as most are now using body-worn cameras (BWC) at all times. According to the 2015 Major Cities Chiefs and Major County Sheriffs Survey of Technology Needs “The data indicates that many local agencies are moving forward with implementing BWC programs despite a lack of IT infrastructure and clarification of technical requirements. The purchase of BWC cameras is only a single step in building a program; subsequently, there are a plethora of technical issues, which must be addressed in order to support a sustainable BWC program.”

Now, law enforcement is beginning to increase the number of video cameras in their cruisers; as is the case with Florida Highway Patrol (FHP). The FHP is updating their 2000+ cruisers with 360 degrees of HD cameras. Florida Highway Patrol was awarded $6.1 Million in 2011 to “purchase and install 1,029 digital in-car cameras and 28 servers upon which digital video is downloaded.” They are now requesting $3.2 Million (of recurring funding) to purchase more than 2,000 in-car camera systems for FHP. All the vehicles receiving the cameras will be operated by officers ranked Lieutenant or below.

While this new technology has benefited the criminal justice system in many ways (improvements are already being seen in “use of force” incidents, and the number of complaints filed again officers), there is still a long way to go, and a lot of questions to answer.

Some of those questions include: What does that mean for data being captured 24/7/365? Where should it be kept? How long do you keep it? Does it have to be stored in a CJIS compliant location? Can it go into a public cloud or should it reside in a private or virtual private cloud (VPC)? All these questions are valid, most of them are dependent on the specific organization, and some have not yet been answered. This combination makes across the board policies almost non-existent.

Let’s dive into a few of these questions.

  1. Does the data need to be stored in a CJIS compliant location? That depends on the industry; but, because of the sensitive nature of government and criminal justice organizations, their data should be stored within a CJIS compliant
  2. Where should it be kept? With the rapid rate at which data is growing when cameras are operating 24/7, it is wise to partner with a cloud provider to store your data. Selecting a predictable cloud provider will allow your organization to ramp up quickly as the amount of data collected increases.
  3. Can it be stored in a public cloud? For organizations that retain sensitive data (social security numbers, health information, video footage, police reports, and other classified and sensitive information) it is wise to select a compliant (to your industry) private or virtual private cloud provider. This is to ensure the safe-keeping of sensitive data, as data stored in the public cloud is at a higher-risk for a security breach.

The cloud offers a new, and effective, way for law enforcement agencies to securely store valuable footage and files while remaining CJIS compliant and following IACP guidelines. But, each organization has different needs, and different cloud options designed to meet them. Whichever cloud you choose, make sure that it observes the specific requirements of your organization/industry.

The DSM Difference

If you are a government organization that’s considering migrating your data to the cloud, consider DSM’s G-Cloud. G-Cloud is the first -and only- Florida-based VPC solution designed for national, state, regional, and local government agencies. We ensure strict security protocols and offer a complete compliance package; meeting the requirements for CJIS, HIPAA, PCI, SOC 1 and SOC 2. Even better? DSM’s G-Cloud is now available for purchase through the GSA contract. So, when you’re ready, contact our IT experts for a free consultation.

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