The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) is adding more eyes to its eight correctional facilities by deploying an expanded video surveillance and data storage system.

The department is currently installing 2,500 additional high-definition video cameras and will centralize both existing and new surveillance and storage infrastructure onto one system. The project was originally piloted in late 2011 and will soon reach full deployment, according to a release.

The county’s eight correctional facilities collectively house nearly 20,000 inmates on a typical day, making it one of the nation’s largest jail systems. According to officials, aside from ensuring overall physical security, the expanded video network is intended to help investigate claims of alleged staff misconduct related to the treatment of inmates.

“When an incident occurs, it becomes a crime scene,” said LASD Lt. Steve Strange, in a statement. “We need to identify all the players before too much time has passed and see areas that are not readily apparent to understand what really happened. You can see more from watching the video, so it’s absolutely crucial for us.”

To store the constant stream of data collected by video surveillance cameras, the department implemented a storage engine that can hold more than 3 petabytes, developed by DataDirect Networks (DDN). The IP-based video surveillance storage platform will also allow for surveillance data to be archived.

According to the LASD, more than 90 percent of all unnecessary force cases this year have correlating recorded video footage and are archived in the new storage platform. Department officials said the newer storage platform allows for quicker retrieval of the archived footage to help resolve both “frivolous and legitimate” claims without having to carry out costly legal action.

Since the department has not reached full deployment of the back-end storage platform, LASD is still storing some video surveillance data on existing infrastructure that is not yet connected. Once the deployment is complete, that remaining storage infrastructure will be integrated onto the newer platform, according to Laura Shepard, director of High Performance Computing Marketing at DDN.

Shepard said each camera varies in resolution and has different data capture rates. Data capture rates also vary from day to day, requiring a significant amount of storage.

“There is a realization that for a system to have that many cameras on, you need to be able to capture video on a daily basis for a very long period of time and also retain it for a very long period of time,” she added.

Sarah Rich, Staff Writer Sarah Rich  |  Staff Writer

In 2008, Sarah Rich graduated from California State University, Chico, where she majored in news-editorial journalism and minored in sociology. Since 2010, Sarah has written for Government Technology magazine and covers a spectrum of public-sector IT topics, including cloud computing, transparency, broadband, and other innovative projects and trends. She currently lives in Sacramento, Calif.