Police Using New Technology to Help with Video Footage Searches

In Minnesota, technology changing the way that the St. Paul Police Department’s Video Management Unit is sifting through their video footage looking for useful images for investigations. Prior to a few weeks ago, all of this had to be done in real-time. If the video was two hours long, the investigator would be spending two hours watching the video searching for pertinent evidence.

Thanks to the incorporation of BriefCam, the videos are now broken down and searched by the software by vehicle or certain attributes. By selecting specific filters, the software can then search for the specified criteria that the investigator is looking for.

BriefCam was founded in 2008 by Professor Shmuel Peleg of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The technology named VIDEO SYNOPSIS helps sift through hours of video footage in a matter of minutes based on various filters placed on the footage. Things like vehicle color, make, and even clothing of a person are all factors that can be used to single out specific footage for review. This saves investigators hours of review time so that they can focus on other case aspects.

Two years ago, the department implemented the Video Management Unit due to all of the incoming video footage that they could review for cases. There was just too much for a few people to handle, so an entire unit had to be devoted to going through all of the real-time footage. BriefCam is making this task easier for all of those involved in the process.

St. Paul Police Sergeant Mike Ernster also commented that this technology isn’t just helpful in homicide investigations. They plan on implementing it to help with missing person cases as well. Ernster also stated that the department does not use facial recognition software, only the ability to filter out specific physical criteria.

The first 48 hours of a homicide investigation are the most crucial in apprehending a subject and the hope is that with technology like this a subject can be apprehended much faster. The police department hopes that using this will help speed up their investigations and shorten timelines.