Portland Police Bureau Upgrades to WatchGuard 4RE In-Car Video System | Case Study

Portland Police Bureau Upgrades to WatchGuard 4RE In-Car Video System | Case Study

My name is Officer Gary Dow, 11-year
veteran of the Portland Police Bureau. My current position is a project officer so
essentially I work on technology projects that affect frontline police
officers. One of my projects was implementing dashcam video into patrol
cars. Portland Police has used dashcams in
the Traffic Division solely since 2003. So we began investigating dashcams
about a year ago by going to different conferences, talking to different
agencies, getting to know the equipment and getting to know the industry and
getting to know the terminology. I think we’ve all seen dashcam footage on the
news and on a lot of these cable shows. What you don’t see is how does the
officer interact with it and how good is the quality of it, how good is the sound
of it, day in and day out. What you need to do is to get educated, and the way
I got educated was to actually go to a video conference and talk about what the
technology was, what the current state of the art was, where it was headed and what
features their individual or products had. And then from there once I
understood what the state of the art was what was possible, began ranking the
features: What did we have to have, what could we live without, what was important, what
wasn’t so important, and wading through that. And then coming to a shortlist of
vendors that had the features that we felt were mandatory. And one and feature
that WatchGuard has that was important to us was the 720p high-definition video.
720p is what everybody’s used to, at least high-definition on their home TVs
now instead of the grainy VHS style tapes. But also important with that was
the way that they compress the video. Because just normal compression, storage
is cheap, but offloading that storage and getting it back, moving it around is
not so cheap. So if you have a high-definition video you’re looking at
a larger file size, so being able to compress it and make it smaller was
important to us. And also their multiple resolution recording, and what that
essentially is is the front camera system was recording both 720p and the
standard definition or d1 resolution the officer at the conclusion of his
recording at the end of his call can select the type of incident it was and
that could be pre-programmed to record off in high-definition or
standard definition. The benefit to determining whether you want
high-definition or standard definition at the patrol car level is that the
officer can override a standard definition recordings scheme and send it
up as high-definition, but you don’t have to upload everything in a high
definition and have a server later on bring it back down to standard
definition. So that reduces the amount of time the officer has to wait for the
video to upload to the server and then have it available for him to write a
report later in the office. Another feature that WatchGuard offers was the
ability to record from multiple cameras at the same time and we now can do that.
We can record off the front camera, a rear camera, a cabin camera, a left camera
and a right camera, all at the same time and this has proven very beneficial for
our agency as so many times when we see the shows on TV we see a lot of action
from the front cam but then we see the action move to the side of the car and
we don’t see that we only hear the action now and we’re actually capturing and have captured very beneficial video that’s occurred to
the side so it’s just better for evidence collection and a better record
of what actually happened. In our cars we have a camera that’s attached right to
the windshield that looks out of the front this is the the 720p
high-definition video, really your most important camera in the car and it does
a really good job with the zoom features and the resolution and the high
definition. So we had one incident where an officer had approached and arrested a
suspect in a park and was using the side camera to view the encounter with this
person while he had him handcuffed and was searching him prior to putting him
in the back of patrol car, the suspect suddenly
spun around and tried to run from the officer all within view of this side
camera. The officer tried to grab on to the suspect who then
kicked him and threw the officer into the side of patrol car, pretty violent.
This officer and another officer they were able to get up and jump on the
suspect take him to the ground and then place him in maximum restraint.
And that type of use of force, that type of violence that occurred kind of shocks
people in a downtown environment. And so not surprisingly there was a complaint
about the use of force but investigators are able to watch the video back and
actually see video as if they were there and watch what actually happened to make
an accurate determination on whether the force was justified in that case.


  1. Maine’s First Somali Muslim Immigrant Police Officer Arrested at Ja Rule Concert, Placed on Leave
    by John Binder17 Jan 2018 Portland, Maine

    The state of Maine’s first Somali Muslim immigrant police officer has been placed on administrative leave after being arrested for a multitude of charges, including assault, at a Ja Rule concert.

    Zahra Munye Abu, a 24-year-old who arrived in the U.S. with her parents from Kenya, was heralded by the Portland, Maine media January 2018 for becoming the first Somali immigrant to join Portland’s Police Bureau/Police Department. But, on Tuesday 16 January 2018, the Portland Press Herald confirmed that Abu had been arrested in Worcester, Massachusetts at a concert.

    According to the Worcester Police Department, Abu was arrested at the Ja Rule and Ashanti concert at the Palladium Nightclub (261 Main Street, Worcester, Massachusetts 01608 (508) 797-9696) and charged with assault, battery, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, and trespassing.

    Worcester Police Sgt. Kerry F. Hazelhurst told the Portland Press Herald, “The nightclub was hosting several live musical acts. She was [given] several opportunities to leave and refused. Eventually, she was placed under arrest.”

    Now, Abu has been placed on administrative leave with pay as the incident is investigated. Should Abu be convicted of the misdemeanor charges, she will face a maximum sentence of two and a half years in Worcester County Jail.

    Portland Police Bureau (109 Middle Street, Portland, Maine 04101 207-874-8479) Chief Michael Sauschuck previously said Abu was one of “the best” officers at the Portland Police Department, championing diversity.

    Sauschuck @PolicePortland said previously, “There’s no question that we want to be as diverse as our communities, but we will only hire the best, and I do believe she is one of them. I hire good human beings and then we make police officers from them.”

    Fatuma Hussein, the executive director of the United Somali Women of Maine (157 Main Street, Lewiston, Maine 04240 (207) 753-0061), previously called Abu a “role model.”

    “She is the symbol of creating a trust relationship, bringing our community closer to law enforcement. I think she is the symbol of building bridges and forging relationships,” Hussein told the Portland Press Herald. “She will be getting a lot of phone calls. She needs to be ready for that. She’ll be getting knocks on her door.”

    John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.

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