By Jessica Mathews /

The Hamburg Township Police Department is making some technology upgrades that are said to benefit both officers and the public.

The Board of Trustees met recently and authorized department purchases for a new video server and accessories, video redaction software, eight body cameras and six security cameras to increase monitoring of perimeter walls, the entrance grate, property room, storage areas and the server room. The various items were all related and included in the capital equipment budget for the current fiscal year, which recently got underway.

The department’s current server, which is used for in-car video systems and body camera systems, has reached its anticipated life expectancy and the warranty expires next week. Chief Rick Duffany said in the past without fail it seems as though it breaks down once the warranty lapses. He noted this purchase will completely integrate the in-car and body camera systems with the server, which is something they something don’t have now. He said officers currently have to turn on their mics and in-car cameras separately and then activate their body cameras. The information must also be downloaded separately.

Duffany said with the Motorola Watch Guard, everything goes on at same time and it will be easier to pull videos for FOIA requests and the courts since it will all be one system. He added only two vendors could met their specifications and the cost of the other was not only significantly higher but cloud-based, not server-based. Duffany told the board one feature he really liked was that it records after-the-fact so if an officer forgets or fails to activate their in-car camera or body camera, the company can go back and pull the video. He said he thought it was phenomenal and offers added protection for both officers and residents.

The department utilizes both in-car video systems and body camera systems and by law, the videos produced must have certain information and images redacted prior to being released for things like Freedom of Information Act requests, court orders and media requests. The department currently has no means to redact the videos on their own, resulting a very lengthy process for administrative assistants who have to watch the videos and manually write down what needs to be redacted before sending it out to an off-site, private vendor.

Duffany commented the redaction software is currently very archaic and their administrative assistants spend so much time literally handwriting notes that are shipped out and then sent back – which is completely inefficient. He noted another benefit to having their own redaction software if that they don’t have to worry about a third party, even though bonded and insured, looking at sensitive police videos and the purchase will eliminate any concerns with that. Some questions were raised about whether extensive training would be required and Duffany stated that it would not as the system is very easy and will save them a lot of time.