Responsible for the safety of more than 25,000 residents, the Ottumwa Police Department has improved service and protection of this Iowa town since implementing Milestone XProtect video management software (VMS) and strategically mounted surveillance cameras. Crime rates have decreased significantly with live events streaming to alert dispatchers.
“The Milestone solution has made a tremendous difference in the safety of downtown Ottumwa: there has been a significant reduction in crimes across the board. With a live feed from around the city and instant access to video recordings for evidence, we publicize crime-related events to the town's residents to further reinforce safety,” says Jim Clark, Chief of Police, Ottumwa Police Department (PD).
A small city with a proportionate police force, Ottumwa had its share of crime like any city in the nation – thefts, vandalism, drunk and disorderly people, burglaries and muggings. Looking to help enforce the law and improve protection of citizens, the police determined that a video surveillance solution would help manage crime and improve the rate of convictions.
Working together with consultants Electronic Technology, Inc. (ETI), the police designed a comprehensive surveillance system to provide a full high-definition (HD) video surveillance solution for monitoring the city streets, with the ability to view and download recorded video. Current Technologies Corporation (CTC) supplied and installed a wireless network with Milestone XProtect Enterprise VMS and 32 Axis network cameras.
“Our design was based on the requirement for a robust solution that could be expanded when needed,” states Dan Carr, Senior Systems Integrator, ETI. “Implementing an IP platform such as Milestone was the only viable solution for Ottumwa.”
A wireless Motorola local area network (LAN) powers the system backbone. In about four weeks' time, Axis Q6032-E PTZ dome cameras were stationed strategically in the intersections that police identified as problem areas.
“Installing the cameras and Milestone system was very easy for our technicians,” says Darryl Bosak, VP of Operations, CTC. “The main issues that arose from this implementation were just ensuring the cameras and networking solution had enough power to run 24/7.”
The video feeds travel through the broadband/wireless LAN and are broadcast at the police station where the operators and a select team of administrators have been given access. From the station, administrators assigned to operate the Milestone XProtect software have the ability to control the cameras live in real time: to zoom in on an event, face or license plate; to take screen snapshots for fast evidence; to move the camera views a full 360 degrees; or to change the screen views to other cameras in an instant.
“The 911 and dispatch operators required an easy-to-use system, something that wouldn't interfere with their already important duties. From the end-user perspective, we're not dealing with technical people, so the entire department appreciated a point-and-click solution. Milestone's XProtect user interface offers a simplified solution but with a level of professionalism, quality and reliability the force required to serve and protect the city,” states Darryl Bosak, VP of Operations, Current Technologies.
The officers immediately began working with the Milestone solution as soon as it was installed. The improved detail coverage - from checking high-definition shots of faces and license plates to connecting multiple cameras for establishing a timeline of events - has improved the operations of the Ottumwa police on a large scale.
The advantages have proven to be multi-faceted. The police monitor live feeds for fast response, and review the recorded HD video, archived up to 30 days for evidence that is quick to find at the click of a button. Improved conviction rates shine a positive light on the city and its police force, with a safer quality of life for the citizens.
Ottumwa's success with the Milestone XProtect surveillance system continues to give residents and businesses peace of mind: the crime rate has decreased significantly since the implementation. The system's live monitoring allows police dispatchers and 911 operators to have a bird's eye view of crimes as they happen, in addition to having the video stored on servers for playback analysis and evidence.
The prevention factor of the cameras has also helped bring down the crime rate. Police earn positive publicity from open communications, highlighting the installation in local news segments and showcasing evidence to the public after convictions. The department also called a press conference to announce the surveillance system and gave a complete demonstration with live feeds after the installation was complete.
Lieutenant Mickey Hucks, Ottumwa PD, concludes: “The surveillance is working. We can see what needs to be seen successfully and efficiently with the Milestone solution. There is definitely a new perspective on the safety of our town. The decline in the rate of crime in Ottumwa has reinforced this great technology: we are proud to protect and serve our residents to the best of our ability and then some.”