Ironically one of the reasons why the police department would be pushed to install police in-car surveillance camera systems on all their patrolling units was not necessarily to deter and reduce theft and vandalism. But it was actually a requirement by the governments in order to provide 24×7 with video evidence.
Video is fantastic for both police and civilians. It helps retain a great degree of transparency between the interactions of a civilian and an officer. It makes law enforcement accountable for their actions, avoiding lawsuits, and monitoring behavior.
It hasn’t been long since in-vehicle camera systems used by law enforcement changed from analog to digital. The video quality of the analog systems didn’t do the job when it came to evidence analysis.
Digital solved many of these problems, but it also introduced new challenges.
Now, digital police camera systems depend on a good-sized data store. Without it, police cars would have to download video manually at the end of every shift— a very unproductive task. Additionally, in-vehicle car video systems are not reliable as they are too fragile for the constant wear and tear of police usage. Police vehicles face constant shock, vibration, and exposure to nature’s elements, like wide temperatures and humidity.
We will be reviewing a police in-car surveillance camera system to resolve these challenges— the solution centers around V3S, the rugged in-vehicle NVR. The device comes with four PoE ports to connect cameras. For connectivity, it can be expanded to support WiFi to allow wireless VAN, and 4G/LTE for Internet gateway capabilities.
Although the in-car video technology has evolved from analog to digital, there are still many challenges found when deploying, using, and maintaining these systems:
- Current video technology is complicated and time-consuming. Current police in-car video systems have become yet another task to perform. Police officers have to turn on cameras, choose between different channels, manually record, and download/upload data from the in-vehicle storage. Manually capturing and recording HD videos in cars is not efficient. Police officers end up losing focus on what’s important.
- Traditional police car gear is not dedicated. Police vehicles are in constant movement. They are likely to face shock, vibration, and continuous exposure to the changing temperatures. It is not uncommon to see typical car computers going through normal wear and tear and breaking down constantly. Aside from the traditional Mobile Data Terminal and radio units, police vehicles lack robust built-in connectivity.
- In-vehicle video storage. If the police want to make the most out of a surveillance system, video needs to be High Definition (HD). But HD video is usually large in size, so the in-car storage needs to be able to accommodate large growing data for longer periods of time. Downloading video data every time a police officer’s shift is over is very unproductive.
A comprehensive police in-car video solution solves most of the challenges faced by traditional and modern digital systems. The following networked elements make up the solution:
- Cameras and Video-Mount Display (VMD)
- The Rugged in-vehicle NVR.
- The Remote Monitoring Center.
IP-Cameras and VMD
Although most police cars only rely on the popular dash camera, a robust video solution should be capable of providing a wider surveillance area: at least four IP-enabled cameras should be used to expand visibility; One, the typical front-facing dash camera; Second, the camera facing the back seat, where a criminal would seat, and Third to Fourth, the cameras pointing on both sides of the car.
Additionally, police officers should have the in-car Video Mount Display (VMD) showing the multiple video input channels simultaneously.
The IP camera systems and VMD are integrated with the in-vehicle NVR (Network Video Recorder).
In-vehicle Rugged NVR
The typical in-vehicle Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) and the radio unit do not always stand up for the task. A robust police surveillance system needs a dedicated in-vehicle mounted computer with the right computing and network capabilities. This computer should take the role of the Internet gateway to allow access to remote resources on the move and also to input/output all video data from the IP cameras.
Introducing Lanner’s V3S
Lanner’s V3S is a fanless rugged in-vehicle NVR (Network Video Recorder) system targeted for surveillance, recording, and video analytics. The V3S NVR feeds from the DC 9~36V level power ignition module and takes up to four PoE/PoE+ (Power of Ethernet) cameras. It distributes electrical power and takes its video data.
The cameras feed video into the police car camera NVR system, to be viewed remotely from headquarters, locally in real-time, or recorded in its SATA storage.
Key V3S Features
- Next-generation Processing. The next-generation 14 nm Intel Atom® x7-E3950 SoC consumes low power and offers the right computing performance for vehicles.
- Rich I/O: V3S comes with abundant I/O peripheral connectivity. It includes two serial COM ports, two video outputs with DVI-D, USB ports, and digital I/O ports. For network, V3S has six RJ45 ports (four with PoE). The appliance comes with a removable SATA storage bay and support for the CAN bus.
- Wireless Network: V3S comes with two Mini PCIe sockets that can be expanded to support 3G/4G/LTE cellular communications. With the full-size Mini PCIe, the V3S can also be expanded with WiFi to allow wireless VAN (Vehicle Area Network).
- Wide tolerance to harsh mobility and environment. V3S is compliant with the E13 standard and has passed the MIL-STD-810G shock and vibration resistance certifications. V3S can also work under a wide range of temperatures, from -40 to 70°C.
An officer on a police car can use video through the VMD to monitor the criminal sitting on the backseat, handle dangerous situations, take pictures of license plates, etc. But by leveraging LTE long-range mobile communications, the video can also be sent to headquarters. An agent sitting in a remote office with access to police car cameras can help police handle difficult situations.
The remote monitoring or management center may dedicate more resources to video surveillance. They may run video analytics to video on demand or save historical data for later evidence.
Video has been an essential technology to help protect police officers on duty while on the road. It expands visibility. It gives the police department an upper hand when dealing with sensitive situations. But the video also imposes transparency and makes police follow compliance when dealing with civilians.
The key benefits of the police car camera system:
- Avoid lawsuits or unsubstantiated claims. One of the reasons law enforcement would use an in-vehicle camera system is to avoid lawsuits. Having evidence during encounters can prevent misleading and unsubstantiated claims and avoid wasting time and money going to court. For example, having proof of drunk driver offenders that plead no contest can save police money and time.
- Improve training. Stopping DUI (Driving Under the Influence) offenders can be risky for police officers; a simple stop can quickly escalate to a firearm battle. Having recordings can be useful for police departments to train new police officers to deal with such situations. Additionally, while on duty, a senior officer can review and comment on a video to help improve an officer’s efficiency.
- Improve overall conduct from police and civilians. Video surveillance can improve the interactions during a police officer and civilian encounter. Knowing that they are being recorded, the police will improve courtesy, productivity, and efficiency. Civilians will also likely comply with the regulations. Overall, law enforcement activities will be more transparent.
- Additional advantages: Aside from the already mentioned police car video surveillance benefits, the V3S computer’s solution will provide other advantages. Services such as fleet management, telematics, license plate recognition, and route optimization.