Video technology is transforming law enforcement and changing the way we investigate cases. In the post 9/11 world, the proliferation of surveillance systems, in-car camera systems, and even video enabled cell phones have resulted in an unprecedented flood of video evidence. Despite the growing availability of video, law enforcement is frequently ill equipped and unprepared to deal with the influx of valuable visual evidence. To add to the problem, there are less than 650 recognized forensic video analysts in the country spread among 17,784 police agencies.
Forensic Video Analysis is defined as “the scientific examination, comparison, and/or evaluation of video in legal matters”.
To assist law enforcement in solving the problem of too few video analysts while experiencing an overload in available video evidence, the IACP has partnered with the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) to design and implement a regional approach. Between May 2006 and September 2007, the IACP will establish four Regional Forensic Video Analysis Labs around the country. These labs will be linked using new technology that allows for the transfers of vary large video files in a matter of seconds. This will provide participating agencies with vital information regarding trends in criminal activity, the ability to share intelligence, and enhance their ability to solve crimes. These labs will be centrally located at a host agency and service the video forensic needs of all agencies within a defined geographic area.
The team is in the process of identifying the host agencies that have or will commit to having trained video analysts on staff who will be willing to train additional examiners from surrounding agencies. Once these host agencies are established and trained analysts are in place, the team will work with the agency to provide the necessary forensic video equipment and then monitor the progress and caseload by using a shared database.
Once these goals are met, the IACP will begin working with other existing forensic video labs to bring them on board to create a national network for sharing critical visual evidence and other valuable information to include training.
For more information on this topic, contact Mike Fergus at Fergus@theiacp.org and continue to refer to this site for updates on the progress.