Securing the peace with the Axis and 2N
Putnam City Campus Police stay transparent with an Axis body worn solution and keep video evidence encrypted and secure from capture to archiving. Schools safely vet visitors with 2N® IP Verso intercoms at their main entrances.
The Campus Police Department of the Putnam City School (PCS) District wanted to replace its cumbersome body worn camera system with a better solution. They were looking for lightweight, durable cameras that could be turned on with a single tap. They wanted an easier way to offload and securely store video evidence. And the system needed to seamlessly integrate with their existing video management system. The school district also wanted to replace aging intercoms at every school’s main entrance with more feature-rich intercoms that would improve visitor screening.
The Police Department turned to Orion Security Solutions, an Axis partner, who recommended the Axis body worn solution. The police department purchased 16 Axis body worn cameras, a system controller, and two-eight bay Axis docking stations to automatically offload the video and recharge the body cameras after every shift. Orion also recommended 2N® IP Verso audio-visual intercoms to replace the schools’ failing front entrance intercoms. Orion linked the 2N intercoms with the school’s VoIP system. Video from the body cameras and intercoms are stored on Genetec Security Center™, providing a unified and seamless security solution.
The chain of custody is more secure since the video is encrypted from capture to transfer to final storage. When docked at the end of every shift, the video automatically offloads to a secure server without manual intervention. The camera’s single-tap activation and 90 second recording buffer ensure that even as officers arrive on the scene, they’re capturing the entire encounter on video. Seeing officers with body cameras often helps de-escalate heated interactions between students. At sporting events, officers use the body camera footage to help school officials identify unruly students for future disciplinary action.
Axis body cameras are a dramatic improvement over our old cameras. They’re so easy to use – from the large, single-tap activation button to the docking stations that quickly recharge the cameras and offload their video at the same time.
Synergy between school, community, and police
Putnam City School District is an independent school district within metro Oklahoma City. Founded in 1914 with the consolidation of four one-room country schools, today the school district covers 43 square miles and manages four high schools, five middle schools and 18 elementary schools. It also runs its own full-service police department. As the primary law enforcement for the school district, the police department has full authority to handle investigations, make arrests, and pursue prosecutions.
When body cameras first came on the scene, the campus police department was quick to adopt the technology for its officers. “We saw what was happening around the country and believed these devices would help us better serve our students and community,” says Mark Stout, Chief of Putnam City Campus Police Department.
“In the past 29 years, we have covered every type of crime you can think of except for homicide, knock on wood. We deal with everything. If you think about it, we're kind of just like a microcosm of the regular society,” continues Chief Stout. “We saw body cameras not only as a way to capture forensic evidence, but also as tool for improving officer performance. We’d regularly review the video to see if any mistakes were made and discuss how officers might approach similar incidents going forward.”
Finding a smarter technology fit
After half a dozen years of operation, Stout was starting to chafe at some of the technical limitations of the body camera technology. “One of the biggest issues was downloading information off of the body cameras,” says Chief Stout. “At the end of a school day, our evening shift officer would have to plug each camera, one at a time, into a computer via a USB plug.”
Officers felt hampered by having to push multiple buttons to activate the camera. There was also growing concern about securely storing, accessing, and sharing video. Chief Stout turned to Orion Security Solutions for advice. The security specialists recommended Axis body worn cameras as a better alternative.
After careful vetting by the chief and his officers, the police department purchased 16 Axis body worn cameras, a system controller, and two eight-bay docking stations. “The change has been dramatic,” states Stout. “It’s so streamlined. In the morning, officers grab their cameras from the docking bays. At the end of the shift they put them back in the bay to recharge. While the docking station recharges the cameras it also quickly offloads the video through the video controller and sends it to our Genetec Security Center™, where it’s categorized and stored for easy retrieval and viewing.”
To protect the chain of custody, the video remains encrypted through the entire process which prevents any opportunity for tampering and unauthorized access.
Another important feature is the Axis body worn camera’s ability to buffer up to 90 seconds before recording is switched on, which helps officers capture the whole encounter. In addition, the body worn camera automatically activates if the officer falls or is knocked down.
When asked about his officers’ opinions of the new cameras, Chief Stout says, “Officers like the simplicity of activating the camera. In the old body cams they had to hold down multiple buttons for several seconds to turn them on and off. Now it’s one quick tap on a very large button in the center of the unit to start and stop recording.” Officers also appreciate all the different mounting options that let them choose how they want to wear the body camera on their clothes or ballistics vest.
The ultimate truth tellers
Chief Stout is finding the Axis body cameras useful tools in improving relations with students, faculty and staff, and the community at large. Just the presence of an officer wearing a body camera often helps diffuse a heated interaction. And when it doesn’t deescalate the situation, having a video recording helps to clarify conflicting versions of events and counter disputes.
“Having the immediacy of the video helps to keep everyone honest,” says Chief Stout. “Most of the time it proves that the officer was in the right. In the few cases where I’ve had to tell the officer he was on the wrong side we’ve been able to take swift corrective action.” Chief Stout maintains that video history of officer interactions and uses it as part of their yearly evaluation.
Axis body cameras are also central to policing school sporting events. “We have three large stadiums that hold between three and six thousand people,” states Chief Stout. “With such large crowds, it’s inevitable that some people get a little too fired up and rowdy.”
Usually officers can break things up and get people on their way. But after the fact, the department reviews the body camera video with school administrators to identify who started the problem. “If it was a student, the school might then take administrative action to ban them from future games,” explains Chief Stout. “If there’s something they did criminally, we have the video evidence to charge them.”
Stopping problems at the door
Every school in the Putnam City School District is designed with a security vestibule where visitors wait to be buzzed into the building. After a decade of service, the intercoms in those anterooms were starting to break down. On Orion Security Solutions’ recommendation, the district decided to replace them with 2N® IP Verso audio-visual intercoms.
“What we liked most about the 2N product were the control features that make it easy for anyone in the main office to use,” says Chief Stout. The new intercoms seamlessly integrate with the district’s phone system and display video from the intercom’s camera on a 2N answering unit that sits on their desk.
The district uses 2N® Indoor Touch answering units at its middle and high schools and 2N® Indoor View answering units at its elementary schools. Both units come with seven-inch, high-definition touch screens to provide a clear preview of the visitor in the vestibule.
“We also like that the video images from the intercom automatically stream to our Genetec system for storage, just like the video from our surveillance cameras,” shares Chief Stout. “So if a school has repeated problems with a specific individual, we retain a record of it.”
Staying proactive about safety
Students are naturally curious about the new body cameras. “Most find them something ‘cool’ while others see them as a reminder to behave better,” says Chief Stout. “From my perspective, the Axis body cameras are the critical front-line support our officers need to keep everyone safe.”
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AXIS W100 Body Worn Camera
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AXIS W800 System Controller
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AXIS W701 Docking Station 8-bay
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