Mesh Without Wires

April 15, 2010

LA County Sheriff’s Wireless Surveillance: Video Interview with SDN

The interview below was pure luck. I knew that Leischen Stelter of Security Director News was looking to interview end users at the ISC West show, but I had not heard of anyone coming. 2010 was an especially tough year for end-user trade show attendance, so I got lucky that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) team stopped by our booth while I was there. When I asked if they’d be willing to do a video with SDN, they responded that they had to email up the chain of command. The permission was granted, SDN had a slot available for a video interview – and we were in business.

See the video at Security Director’s News: Los Angeles continues to deploy wireless mesh

Some interesting quotes:

“The success of the system has been infectious: other cities have seen it; other areas have benefited from it. This is a living project and will continue to grow.

“The great thing with wireless, we are not limited by location: we can expand and grow as we see fit, where the needs are in terms of controlling crime and protecting the citizens.

“Our key requirement has always been evidentiary-grade video. For us, this is 30 frames per second 4CIF: high-quality video that would stand up in court. If this requirements could not have been met, we felt that the video system would be inadequate or could only provide basic needs, such as scene assessment.

“Having a proven wireless system that’s capable of providing high-quality video has been essential to us when it comes time for prosecution.

“Believe it or not, it’s amazingly simple with the wireless system we are using for these deployment, which is Firetide’s [wireless mesh network]. Install [the nodes], line up, turn on the power, put the cameras up, minor fine-tuning, and you are good to go. It’s very simple.”

Again, the issue of whether wireless video surveillance is simple comes up. (See my earlier post: Is Wireless Video Surveillance ‘Easy‘?) Note that the comment is from an end-user; they do not design the network nor configure the nodes. They have an excellent integrator – Leverage Information Systems – who does that for them. So from then end-user perspective, the deployments are “amazingly simple.”

As an aside, when the first SDN’s video with LA County Sheriff’s Department was released after ASIS, I was asked: how come you keep promoting the deployment, it’s only 30 cameras. Yes, at that time it was 30 cameras, but for any small to medium size municipality, this is a decent size project, so the interview can provide interesting reference points. Besides, even the largest projects start with a Phase One.

Besides, consider these facts:

  • LASD has a policy that does not prevent its representatives from talking to the media (policies vary greatly by municipality or agency, some do not allow any comments at all)
  • They can secure approval for a media interview within days (as was the case with the interview at ASIS), and even within hours (for ISC West interview)
  • Last but not least, they attend trade shows.

By the way, the first SDN interview with LASD is their most popular video of all times with 5,500 views. The second interview is already SDN’s 6th most popular video of all times. I don’t know how or why these videos get so popular; “cops with cameras” must be a compelling topic.

For additional information on the LA County Sheriff’s Department project, see:

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