Bryan P.D. needing more storage space for patrol car cameras

Published: Sep. 19, 2017 at 5:29 PM CDT
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Dash camera video is critical when officers are responding to scenes and for prosecutors during trial. It acts as another set of eyes and ears, but Bryan Police are running out of space to store all that video.

Tuesday night, the Bryan City Council will take a look at a request to fix that problem..

Patrol car cameras capture traffic stops to crime scenes. The cameras provide a unique perspective that help protect officers and citizens. A dash camera video from 2015 shows Bryan Police officers saving a man who was being attacked by a dog.

"The video storage in the patrol cars is growing at an exponential rate," said Bernie Acre, who is the chief information oficer for the City of Bryan.

He says that by the coming summer the department will have used almost three quarters of their storage space.

"The patrol car video storage is approximately at 63 percent capacity right now," said Acre. "We expect that to reach 70 percent capacity in the next 10 months -- so sometime -- this fiscal year we're going to be beyond any kind of a recovery process if we needed to fall back."

The Bryan City Council will consider a request Tuesday to double the storage space for the patrol car cameras. It's expected to cost $131,539.

"That's actually very cheap considering what storage costs today and that's purchased off of what is known as the GSA contract which is a federal contract," explained Acre.

"So you don't have to go out and renegotiate a price. It's a government pricing and we did real well with the contract and terms," he said.

Officers also now regularly wear body cameras when they're on duty, but that body camera's footage is stored on a cloud system and there is unlimited storage.

The technology continues to change.

"In the very beginning we had VCR cameras duct taped to the dashboard and we've progressed a lot since that time," said Bryan Public Information Officer Kelley McKethan. "And now we have mobile video mounted in all the patrol cars and it's very important for anything that we do."

She says the cameras are an invaluable tool.

"Most definitely the videos are used in court -- mostly on DWI cases and many other cases. The retention rate for our videos is different. It varies from what kind of case is involved in that video," she said.

If approved by the council the IT Department expects this will meet their storage needs for at least three years.