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IBM Bolsters Police Fleet with 'In Car' Digital Video Technology

System To Help Yakima, Washington Police Department Record Traffic Stops and Crimes in Progress; Seven Police Departments Piloting the New Technology

ARMONK, N.Y. - 15 May 2003: IBM today announced that it will build a digital video system for the Yakima Police Department cruiser fleet, providing officers with the tools needed to capture video of traffic stops and criminal activity in progress.

The announcement marks IBM's first contract to build an "in car" digital video system for a law enforcement agency. But the company is currently conducting digital video pilot projects with seven metropolitan police departments across the country, indicating the potential of this new market segment.

"The new system will enhance public safety by providing evidence that will help convict lawbreakers," said Captain Jeff Schneider of the Yakima Police Department in Washington state. "It is an example of our intention to implement leading-edge technology that benefits the citizens of Yakima."

Installed in each of the department's 32 cruisers, the IBM "in car" solution, using Coban Technologies' Video Mobile Data Terminal (VMDT), will collect data via digital video cameras mounted in the cars as well as from audio microphones worn by the police officers. The data will be fed to removable, ruggedized computer hard drives in the vehicles.

At the end of an officer's shift, he or she will remove the hard drive, bring it into police headquarters, and upload any recorded evidence into a central data repository capable of storing 3.5 terabytes of data -- the equivalent of nearly 800,000 full-length novels.

The repository uses Coban's Digital Video Management System (DVMS), which is designed for flexibility and scalability to serve police departments both large and small. The solution also includes IBM eServer xSeries servers, IBM Linear Tape-Open storage, Tivoli Storage Manager and IBM services and support.

Digital video systems are far more effective than the traditional police car video systems that are based on analog (videotape) technology. Because analog systems must be activated manually by the police officer, they often fail to capture images of crimes in progress. By contrast, IBM's in-car digital video system continuously records images and sound onto a 40 or 60 gigabyte hard drive. When the officer turns on his overhead "pursuit" lights, the previous four minutes of video and audio are saved and recording continues until the officer turns off the system.

The IBM solution has other advantages:
Authentication enabled -- The system generates unique authentication keys that discourage tampering with video files.

Data aggregated -- Video images are synchronized with other relevant information, such as speed radar readings, Global Positioning System data, vehicle telemetry, and lightbar (pursuit light) activity.

Chain of custody protected -- At the start of a shift, an officer will check out a hard drive from headquarters by scanning the barcode on the disk into an on-site computer server. The officer will also enter his or her ID number. The process is repeated at the end of the shift. The system keeps a detailed log of hard drive custody.

Data retrieval improved -- Users can search massive video databases and quickly retrieve precisely the video clip that's required. Videos can be searched using any combination several criteria, including officer ID, date, type of violation, location, and motorist information.

"Shelf life" extended -- Digital video images captured are DVD- or VCD-quality. They are much sharper than taped images and can theoretically be stored indefinitely, while videotape deteriorates over time.

"Digital video is an extremely promising and powerful technology that benefits areas ranging from law enforcement to entertainment," said Gail Whipple, vice president, global digital media, IBM. "IBM is committed to developing the solutions that bring this technology to the broad spectrum of our customers, in government as well as the private sector."

"Law enforcement agencies constantly explore new technologies to improve their effectiveness in the field, and are extremely stringent when selecting new vendors," said Brian Chang PhD, Coban President. "Together with IBM, Coban has been able to provide a solution that will dramatically improve the way these agencies collect and process important video evidence."
For the future, the Yakima Police Department plans to integrate the video solution with its records management system, which contains police reports and case information.

IBM Global Services
IBM Global Services is the world's largest information technology services and consulting provider, generating over $36 billion in 2002. Approximately 180,000 professionals serve customers in over 160 countries, providing the entire spectrum of customers' e-business needs -- from the business transformation and industry expertise of IBM Business Consulting Services to hosting, infrastructure, technology design and training services. IBM Global Services delivers integrated, flexible and resilient processes -- across companies and through business partners -- that enable customers to maximize the opportunities of an on-demand business environment.

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Contact(s) information

John Buscemi
IBM Media Relations
(914) 766-4495
jbuscemi@us.ibm.com

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