High-profile civilian encounters with police officers that have drawn headlines over the past 18 months have resulted in more police departments opting to outfit officers with body cameras. In December, President Barack Obama announced a proposal to invest $75 million to purchase 50,000 body cameras for law enforcement agencies over a three-year period, and in May the Department of Justice announced a $20 million Body-Worn Camera Pilot Partnership Program as part of the president’s initiative. But law enforcement agencies still find themselves wondering how they’d manage the cost of mass data storage.
Now they may have an answer: the cloud.
The space and cost of storing video footage in the cloud presents an arduous challenge, especially for smaller police departments. According to Computerworld, the Birmingham Police Department in Alabama purchased 5 terabytes of storage space, but was concerned after using 1.5TB in only two months.
The issue that smaller law enforcement agencies face is that videos must be stored for indefinite amounts of time. Fusion sees as inevitable a lawsuit filed after a department deletes footage due to lack of storage space. The cloud could alleviate this pressure by providing a cost-effective alternative, and Microsoft will make available its Azure cloud service to aid police departments.
Microsoft’s vice president of U.S. state and local government, Michael Donlan, told StateScoop that the company’s status as the lone “hyperscale cloud provider” contractually bound to the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services security standards should make the cloud an attractive option for state and local police departments.
Microsoft says it hopes to launch a preview of the service before the year is over so it can be rolled out early next year. Knowing that this new IT option is already in compliance with the highest security criteria should simplify the decision for law enforcement agencies.