Two of today’s most pressing safety concerns are the ability for law enforcement and private security to quickly de-escalate situations so they don’t turn violent and the ability to accurately document situations that do escalate to provide transparency and dispel or verify any claims.
The current environment in the US means organizations and professionals responsible for safety and public order face a tougher job – one that is under more scrutiny than ever before. And, escalated situations and the results that often come from them can have lasting effects on organizations and individuals.
This means that proactive safety and security measures, along with public safety agencies and private security companies working together effectively, are more important than ever. Effective collaboration between law enforcement and security leads to safer communities with lower incident rates and the ability to prosecute crimes more successfully and quickly.
Video data is an essential tool to provide safety and transparency to the public. CCTV, body-worn cameras (BWCs) and cell phone video have become the most common method or preventing and prosecuting crime. Video provides the obvious advantage of indisputable evidence that brings clarity to events, but importantly it also allows safety professionals to better understand how to prevent critical events from occurring in the first place.
With the proliferation of video data and the sources it comes from, the ability to easily share and combine data across agencies and organizations is becoming increasingly important. When incidents captured by security become evidence, they need to be shared securely, quickly and efficiently with law enforcement or other agencies.
Streamlined management and sharing of data, in a way that provides a reliable chain of custody, is paramount. New technologies are making it easier than ever for this huge amount of video data to be shared and analyzed to drive better outcomes and smarter safety and security practices.
How Axon can help
Axon has been providing public safety agencies with safety and security technology for two decades. The Axon Network helps meet challenges like organized retail crime, rising workplace violence and the increasing need for retail and security organizations to work with law enforcement.
The Axon suite of solutions offers a smart set of de-escalation and incident management tools for private security companies. Axon body-worn cameras, conductive energy weapons and the Axon digital evidence management platform are proven and rapidly evolving technologies that directly support and improve transparency, de-escalation and safety.
These safety tools provide enhanced situational awareness and transparency, a strong means of de-escalation and an easy way to manage and share data to mitigate the unique threats, risks and liabilities that exist for private security and businesses that need to easily share data with public safety agencies.
Conducted energy weapons provide a strong deterrent that often negate the need for force and are a non-lethal option when force is necessary.
Body cameras make it possible to immediately dispel or verify any complaints and remove any guesswork whilst also ensuring that security officers and staff are acting professionally. Axon body-worn cameras have an error-proof user interface that requires minimal training and automates the capture and upload of data.
When incidents become evidence, the Axon Evidence platform ties users directly into one of the largest law enforcement platforms in the world and makes it easy to manage and share incidents. Axon livestreaming capabilities provide real-time situational awareness which can be very valuable for lone guard or night-time situations.
Software capabilities allow users to easily sort and tag data, create a chain of custody, redact and transcribe videos and share important incidents with the click of a button. The efficiency gains and elimination of manual tasks provided by Axon allow organizations to spend less time on security operations and more time focused on serving customers and communities.
Connected safety technology in action
Often, incidents that occur in public settings such as apartment complexes, retail areas or sports venue are first encountered by security officers. In these cases, a first person POV is critical in supplementing CCTV footage to accurately tell the complete story.
If an incident becomes a chargeable offense, the body cam footage from security officers can now easily be combined with fixed camera footage to provide a complete and accurate accounting that can be easily shared with law enforcement and prosecution as needed.
Imagine a stadium event with a typical CCTV deployment. Local law enforcement patrolling the stadium is wearing body-worn cameras and the ballpark has also equipped security staff with body-worn cameras.
A fight breaks out that leads to serious injury of an attendee and a lawsuit against the police department and venue owner is filed. It’s an extreme case, but one that is not rare.
Being able to combine CCTV, BWC and cell phone footage from the public is the most reliable way to address claims and lawsuits. One of the things organizations struggle with today is amalgamating several sources of evidence into a single case, then easily sharing that case with the proper authorities.
Modern Digital Evidence Management Systems alleviate that pain and enable organizations to more quickly prosecute crimes, avoid complaints and lawsuits and more efficiently train staff to reduce future incident occurrence.
A real-world scenario: Minneapolis Downtown Security Executives Group
Axon partnered with the Minneapolis Downtown Security Executives Group (DSEG), comprised of Minneapolis based private-sector security leaders, the Mpls Downtown Improvement District (DID), the Minneapolis Police Department and the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office.
The goal was to create a Proof of Concept (PoC) that encouraged adoption of private-sector BWCs while leveraging the power of Evidence.com, where 80% of US law enforcement agencies already operate, to streamline the Incident-to-Evidence workflow between the private-sector, law enforcement and the City Attorney’s Office to improve the ability to investigate and charge crimes effectively while maintaining chain of custody.
Axon Body 3 cameras were selected since they were already proven with law enforcement agencies and have been identified as a critical tool for private security personnel to document evidence that captures an incident in first person point-of-view (POV) that translates to enhancing the ability to proactively de-escalate and/or to capture an incident with indisputable evidence.
The identified participants of the PoC that are deploying Axon solutions includes two major league sports facilities, a national retailer, a large healthcare provider, a municipal parking provider with fifteen parking ramps and five commercial real estate properties ranging in size from 500,000-1,000,000+ square footage.
Initial private sector cases that have been submitted through Evidence.com have received positive feedback from law enforcement investigators, citing the reduction of time and resources required to request and compile the evidence. Additional benefits also include chain of custody compliance and the ability to transfer case evidence to the City Attorney’s Office for prosecution when applicable.
Next steps for the PoC is to formalize the private-sector to law enforcement Incident-to-Evidence workflow, provide training by the City Attorney and law enforcement investigators on how to properly document and build cases for prosecution using evidence.com. and to expand participation in evidence.com and BWC to other private security clients or providers.
Shane Zahn, Director of Safety Initiatives with DID states: “I see a future where adoption of private-sector BWCs and evidence.com can help the downtown Minneapolis businesses to create safer and more transparent communities.”
If you’re in the private security sector and want to better understand how digital evidence management can make the way you share data and effectively charge cases in your community, visit: www.axon.com
This article was originally published in the August edition of Security Journal Americas. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.
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