The number of government agencies purchasing vehicle security cameras or body cameras for law enforcement agencies continues to grow. And along with that arrives opportunity for vendors selling video data storage solutions.
Bills came up in at least 34 states last year relating to the use of cameras recording police activity. With the ongoing national debate over law enforcement accountability, and a pattern of recent growth in the number of contracts within public safety, it’s worth examining these trends and how they impact government vendors.
Growth in Government Purchases of Cameras for Public Safety Continues
Onvia has been reporting on the growth in government body camera purchasing for several years, and this trend has continued upwards. A recent study identified 36 of 69 major cities in the United States that have implemented, or are planning to use body camera technology. Some agencies are using vehicle security cameras as an additional public safety measure.
Body cameras are small, wearable video cameras that can be attached to a shirt, hat or sunglasses. They can provide unprecedented transparency by recording audio and video at crime scenes and other police encounters with citizens. Vehicle security cameras, often called “dashboard” or “in-car” cameras, can be either an alternative or complementary form of video security. These cameras are typically mounted on the dashboard of a vehicle, like a police car, and are particularly useful for capturing footage of car chases and events taking place close to the vehicle.
Onvia’s comprehensive database of government contracts shows that over the past three years, there were more contracts awarded for vehicle security cameras than for body cameras, and the contracts for body cameras were, on average, for slightly higher dollar values.
Many agencies have taken to purchasing both vehicle security and body cameras simultaneously, putting one bid out for both varieties of camera. Fulton County in Georgia was one of them. An example of their June 2016 RFP, as captured by Onvia, shows that the agency requested the “purchase, implementation, and support of both Body Worn and In-Car Cameras. Initial deployment is anticipated to consist of camera systems to outfit 100 Body Cameras and 60 In-Car Cameras.”
And in September 2016, the Fulton County commission announced they had approved a $400,000 contract with Utility Associates, Inc. to provide both technologies.
The dash cameras and body cams will be a beneficial tool to protect our police force on the front lines and respond to any citizen’s questions about an officer’s actions.Fulton County GA commission Chairman John Eaves
Storage Solutions Needed for Body and Vehicle Security Camera Video Data
Both body and vehicle security cameras create enormous amounts of data, and police departments need to host thousands of hours of newly captured video. Contracts for both types of cameras often go hand-in-hand with a contract for data storage solutions.
With cities increasingly more willing to invest in new technology to improve public safety, cloud storage solutions have become a popular video storage option for many agencies. Government agencies opt for cloud storage to be able to access their stored information anywhere and to take advantage of the virtually unlimited space the cloud has to offer. Cloud storage contracts can be offered either as a part of a contract for dashboard or body cameras, or as a standalone bid or RFP.
On the other hand, some agencies prefer to store their data in-house for flexibility, control and often for cost savings. Utah’s Granite School District Police Department chose an on-premises storage solution so they could customize it to their own organizational and security needs. Examples of these in-house solutions can include servers or data centers.
Camera and Video Storage Contracts Available from Many Government Agencies
For many agencies, public safety is a top priority, and building trust between law enforcement agencies and the local communities by increasing transparency is key.
Public safety rises pretty close to the top in terms of prioritization.Phil Scott, Lieutenant Governor of Vermont
Both body cameras and vehicle security cameras are technologies that address this. City, county and state agencies are setting aside money to invest in this technology, often even when those agencies are dealing with budget pressures in other departments.
And many times, when an agency puts out a bid or RFP for these cameras, a contract for in-house data storage or cloud storage is not far behind. Providers of data storage – as well as those who supply vehicle security and body cameras – will continue to find opportunities to win contracts in the government market.