SnapStream’s upfront cost varies among four pricing packages. The first records four channels for a one-time fee of $12,000, with a $1,200 annual maintenance support fee. The second records six channels for $18,000 and a $1,800 annual fee. The third handles eight channels for $24,000 and charges $2,400 yearly. The fourth records 10 channels for $30,000 with a $3,000 annual fee. Each package comes with different user/end-user licenses, and the amount of video storage depends on video quality and the SnapStream package an agency buys. For example, Round Rock gives user licenses to several agencies so they can track coverage relevant to their operations.

Elsewhere in Operations

Agencies use SnapStream for a range of purposes. The Anaheim Police Department, for example, uses news footage of high-speed car chases to write internal reports on the pursuits and to train officers. 

“They have [the footage] at their fingertips right after the pursuit instead of having to try to figure out, ‘Where can we get a copy of this?’” Martinez said. “We already have a copy.”

The department also searches TV for citizens who have made comments to the media and might make good witnesses in police cases. Additionally the department records news magazine shows like CBS’ 48 Hours, which often cover crime-related stories that can serve as training aids for officers.

Round Rock has found the TV search engine to be a convenient public relations tool. Whenever a report that’s favorable to the city appears on TV, staff e-mail the clip to department heads and elected officials so they can send it to their constituents.

Set It and Forget It

Installing SnapStream took Greensboro’s IT department only about half an hour, Brown said. Using the server requires either a subscription TV connection, like cable or satellite, or an over-the-air digital TV antenna. Departments can program recordings for any channels offered by the TV service they use.

“It’s as easy as setting up a desktop computer,” Round Rock’s Bennett said. “Plug in the Ethernet cable and the co-ax cable for the TV signal, and off it goes.”

Andy Opsahl  | 

Andy Opsahl is a former writer and features editor for Government Technology magazine.