Law Enforcement Technology

APR-MAY 2019

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18 LAW ENFORCEMENT TECHNOLOGY APRIL/MAY 2019 IN V E S T I G AT I O N S , E V ID E N C E A N D F O R E N S I C S W hen John O'Hare, former commander of the vice, intelligence and narcotics division for the Hartford Police Department (Conn.) first began work- ing narcotics, he recalls a scene to which many investigators can relate; he and his team would get a tip, draw up operational plans, set up operations and wait. They would spend hours sitting and watching with their binoculars, sometimes gaining information but other times striking out. "Anybody who has been in narcot- ics prior to seven years ago knows what I'm talking about," he says. "It's not fun." That scene may become a tale of the past, however, with the introduc- tion of technologies that give narcot- ics investigators more information prior to arriving on a scene. In fact, several technologies on the market today—both software and hardware solutions—are helping to reduce time of manual analysis, improve situational awareness and increase officer safety in narcotics investigations. From pen and paper to digital One of the biggest advantages for O'Hare's investigations was the addi- tion of video and video analysis software. The agency began using cameras, which proved to be useful, but the amount of information became overwhelming. "I couldn't dedicate people to sit there all day and night and watch video," he says. The agency then invested in BriefCam, which allowed them to more easily sift through the massive amounts of video collected. "There's a lot of video data but now you sift through it because you know what you're looking for so you find that needle in a haystack," he says. With this technology his team could track migra- tion patterns, including how people moved through a neighborhood and where they stopped the most. "When it comes to narcotics interactions, where they stop the most or hang out the most is likely the stash spot," he says. "We used to have to sit and maybe we'd watch one or two sales per hour, or maybe more, but it would be spread out all over the street and you'd have to figure out after hours where everyone is going the most. It was time consuming." The reduction of manual analysis greatly improved efficiencies for inves- tigators. Rather than spending hours watching a home or scrolling through video footage looking for a specific car, video analysis technology allowed O'Hare's team to identify a "who," "what," "when," and "where" prior Technology's Role Emerging solutions help agencies reduce manual analysis, increase officer safety and improve situational awareness. In The Fight Against Narcotics By Adrienne Zimmer

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