Worchester Police is finding it hard to implement usage of body worn cameras and cruiser dashboard cameras due to high video storage costs. City Manager Edward M Augustus Jr has been asked to come up with a solution for this issue by March this year.
Mr. Augustus Jr. told the council early this week that his administration also remains committed to install more video cameras at the Lincoln Square headquarters, especially in parts of building where people are held in police custody such as cell rooms, interrogation rooms and booking areas. But according to him the deployed number is insufficient to cover all the areas of the building.
The Manager said that city officials are trying to work through the costs associated with having such an expanded video monitoring program. The main issue which has to be tackled on a primary note is the phenomenal costs associated with the storage of that volume of video. As the time frame for claiming video evidence for such data is three years, the officials will have to first grapple with the costs associated with providing the storage.
Last year, the city’s Technical Services Division presented the Police Department with a comprehensive camera installation plan calling for 79 cameras to be installed inside and outside the headquarters building where a person could be taken into police custody.
As presented, that plan would cost about $160,000 for materials and $45,000 for installation. But the much bigger costs would be in storing that video.
According to the preliminary estimate, all the cameras would require nearly 578 terabytes of storage. This includes 200 TB for onsite storage and 200TB as replicated storage.
The estimated cost for 578 terabytes of storage is about $440,000 for a single site storage and $881,000 for replicated storage – a system whereby the data is stored twice at two separate locations, for security and disaster recovery purposes.
Apart from the storage required for the installed cameras, the police department of Worchester also wants to install body cams on police officers and dash cameras on their land cruisers in order to have video evidence on how they are dealing with public and performing their duties in their day to day activities.
Mr. Augustus said the Police Department has been conducting a pilot program with body cameras and a dashboard camera that has been installed in one cruiser.
By doing so the department wants to estimate the storage and other related costs in this project.
City officials said the amount of data to be ultimately stored from body and dashboard cameras would depend on future policy development.
Once the manager receives the recommendations from the police chief, he said they will be forwarded to the City Council for its consideration.
Community wide discussions which took place in Worcester last spring and in summer involved the topic of body cameras usage in police department. The discussion also involved increasing the number of security camera installations in police headquarters.
More details will be updates in coming weeks.