VMS in Action: Technology Enhances Law Enforcement in Boca Raton

Police are able to manage and analyze video from daily operations to special events like the third Presidential Debate

The Ocularis VMS was installed based on a competitive bid. “I manage the system at the main server,” Falcone says. “I can make a change once and it goes out to all the servers in the field. Ocularis brings it all back into one platform — if I add a new site, it becomes part of my main system.”

The city also uses VidSys physical security information management (PSIM) software.


Boca Raton in the Headlines

The final Presidential Debate of the 2012 election season was held at Lynn University in Boca Raton, and the VMS system enabled the city to expand its video surveillance to provide coverage of locations and events surrounding the debate. Nearly 10 additional cameras were placed in the area of Lynn University, including cameras on roofs to provide a perimeter view. The system also tied in traffic cameras.

Boca Raton PD partnered with Miami-Dade FD/PD and used Miami's Command Center Bus to monitor activity during the Presidential Debate, coordinating the effort with the U.S. Secret Service, lead security agency for the event. The Command Center Bus was positioned at a high school near the university, which was a staging area for law enforcement and near enough to respond quickly if anything happened. Fortunately, there were no incidents. The cameras in Mizner Park were also useful to monitor a “Rock the Vote” event held during the debate.

Boca Raton police knew a year ahead about the coming presidential debate, and preparation accelerated about two months before the event. OnSSI provided temporary licenses to enable cameras to be brought online quickly at remote locations. The system enabled law enforcement officials to easily set up and manage large numbers of cameras from centralized, remote and mobile monitoring locations.


Investigations Made Easy

The police use the VMS to view a vehicle based on a description. Investigative tools such as time-slice thumbnails, smart search motion detection and a kinetic movement timeline make it easy to locate the needed video. “The client software lets us narrow down the timeframe, and skip to the next area where there is activity,” Falcone says. “We can easily locate events that happen without looking at hours of video.”

Currently, Boca Raton PD uses video mostly for forensic investigations, although the department is working toward real-time crime analysis, including accessing camera feeds to view what is happening based on radio calls in dispatch; however, full real-time operation is a couple of years away, Burke says.

As the two people driving the camera initiative in Boca Raton, Burke and Falcone get calls every day asking for more cameras. The system could easily increase to 500 cameras in two years, Burke says. “It's just a monumental project for a medium-sized city to take on.”

Looking to the future, the system will transition to a new Public Safety Information Management Center, which is scheduled to open within two years and will include a video wall. As the system grows, the VMS can manage video feeds from a virtually unlimited number of cameras. It supports multiple-network operation, both wired and wireless, and will allow Boca Raton to extend the reach of the system to access live views and recorded video throughout the city.