Denver RTD Transit Police speed investigations with NICE wireless mobile video

Denver RTD Transit Police speed investigations with NICE wireless mobile video

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) pegs annual bus ridership in the U.S. and Canada at around 5.4 billion. To keep those billions of riders safe and secure, transportation systems rely on onboard video surveillance. In addition to acting as a deterrent, video is invaluable for investigating crimes and complaints, as well as refuting costly liability claims.

But as the Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) discovered, their existing mobile analog systems, used to record video, were aging and some were becoming unreliable. The very fact that the hard drives needed to be pulled from the bus to download the video slowed the investigation process, and often the hard drives would not contain video because of an unknown failure. Every night RTD employees would go to the buses and physically remove the hard drives from the buses for the day's requests.

“We had to pull hard drives off of buses for 20-40 cases per day,” said Bob Grado, Transit Police Commander and Manager of Integrated Security Operations for Denver RTD. The manpower effort alone was staggering, but there were other complications as well, like when a camera failed to record the video needed for an investigation.

Move to Digital Video, with Wireless Download
Given that Denver RTD conducts thousands of investigations annually, video camera failures and inaccessible recordings were a significant problem. Working with partners NICE Systems and Panasonic, Denver RTD designed and deployed a high-quality digital video system that enabled the organization to download video wirelessly off a bus so investigators could access it without leaving their desks. The first-of-a-kind mobile video surveillance solution uses NiceVision software, running on hardware from Panasonic Corporation, and includes specialty cameras and a mobile recording platform designed to withstand the vibration and weather extremes experienced by the buses.

Denver RTD has already installed the system on over 110 new buses and over the course of the next three years plans to deploy about 450 more buses with the mobile video solution. What makes the solution unique is that it automatically downloads the requested video, via Wi-Fi, whenever a bus pulls into a depot, passenger concourse, or the Denver RTD facility.

Improved Investigations
The new system also gives Denver RTD transit police investigators high definition video, which was not available before. Denver RTD redesigned the camera layouts to include nine interior cameras so more of the bus is covered than ever before, and the high definition images make it easier to interpret what is occurring in the video.

But by far the biggest benefit is the ability to access the video remotely through the NICE Inform solution. Instead of going to the depot to manually remove hard drives from the buses, investigators can just type the bus number, date, and time range into NICE Inform. When the bus pulls into the depot and connects with Wi-Fi, the system automatically receives the request and begins to download the video. Additionally, mobile video recordings can be combined with radio recordings and fixed surveillance video to create a complete incident timeline. Denver RTD can also email case file links to other law enforcement agencies involved in an investigation.

Denver RTD's new mobile video system greatly improves the organization's surveillance and investigation capabilities in order to best protect its passengers.


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