Long Term Investigation Reporting Tool - Case / Investigation Management?

I currently work on a long term criminal investigation that relies on IP cameras (3) to collect intelligence and evidence. We are currentely using Genetec but should migrate to Milestone in the next year. What I need is to keep track of people, vehicule and incident. I need to put all this information in a searchable database in order to make the best decision during the course of the investigation and present evidence for Court procedures. I searched the capabilities of both Genetec and Milestone and could not find anything that fits my needs. I currently take snapshots and fill an Excel spreadsheet with all the relevant information and a link to the snashot. My solution is time consuming and limited by my knowledge of Excel. I would like to know if any member is aware of a solution (homemade or third party integrator) that could help, if not, wouls such a tool be of use for anyone else.


Undisclosed, what you are likely looking for is a case management software / solution (aka incident management software). Some VMSes offer limited built-in case management but typically that is left to others.

VMSes, even high end ones, might allow bookmarking or saving clips but not that much more than that. There could be a few exceptions, but that would mean switching VMSes again. So unless you really want to do that, it is best to look at third party case/incident software.

That noted, I know very little about the providers in this segment.

Here's a video that overviews an incident / case management tool:

Have you already considered one?

May I ask why the switch from Genetec to Milestone?

Undisclosed, feel free not to discuss the VMS switch unless you want our feedback. If you do discuss, be warned that it will likely throw the discussion off your original topic of a 'long term investigation reporting tool.'

Yes feel free...? For all we know the change is because of the lack of reporting in the current VMS and the competition has something more amenable. Or how their db handles events or...?

Gleason, I do not want this thread hijacked into a general Milestone vs Genetec debate. If the OP wants to do that, it's fine. Otherwise, feel free to start your own discussion about Milestone vs Genetec.

If someone has information to share about Milestone or Genetec could specifically meet OP's goal for long term investigations, feel free to share. However, it would be counterproductive to turn this into a generic 'which VMS is better debate?'

To the best of my knowledge, neither VMS has the type of capability that OP desires.

Well thanks for sharing.

Do most PSIMs in general have this feature or not?

First of all thanks for your comments.

Me being a frontline investigator in a large police force, the choice of VMS was done way above my head but I think that there was some kind of disappointment when Genetec went from Omnicast to Security Center! but I don't want to get into this discussion since I'm in no way a video surveillance expert.

I looked at mani incident management solutions (built in or third party) and they all seem to have the same problem, they can be good at handling individual incident but not at handling a large number of individual incident that are interralated within a larger investigation.

Since I was designated to handle the video surveillance side of the investigation, I decided to gain a little more knowledge on the subject and found out that IPVM was well worth the investment.

I will for sure be back with more post as I have been working the cameras for a couple of weeks and I'm still trying to tweak the system (with the little privileges I have) in order to get the best images and overcome some problems related to the environment as well as bandwith management.

FYI I'm working with Panasonic WV-SC385 PTZ (H.264) that are currently set at 1280*960 15fps.

Undisclosed investigator, thanks for the clarification. If you are looking for:

'handling a large number of individual incident that are interrelated within a larger investigation'

That is pretty specialized and almost far beyond anything VMSes are designed to do. You can do things like Sean suggests to help at the margins but VMSes are really not designed for complex investigation management.

Again, beyond my focus area, but have you looked at something like IBM S2? This is designed for just the type of scenario you are describing - complex investigations with interrelated incidents for police departments.

As for the Pelco, are you happy with the video quality? Given that it's a PTZ and since Panasonic does not support true VBR, be careful what the bit rate is set too. If it is too low, you will get the image breaking up or looking muddy, especially when the camera or subjects are in motion.

We began using a product from Competitive Edge software INC called Report Exec last year. We took more than two years to research every company we could come up with.

The list comprised the following:

D3 Security, PPM 2000, Archer, iView, Alert Enterprise, Gordon Security Solutions, and Competative Edge.

The software allows for case reports to be generated and to track everything you have stated you want to track. JPEGS from video and other digital documents can be attached to the case report. The video can be added as well however it will not be able to be played.

Damon, thanks! Very helpful! I embedded links to the websites in your list above.

Have you checked with any of your friends who are members of NATIA? I was just at the conference in Memphis as a vendor and did notice a number of Case Management solutions being presented. I'm afraid I dont have any additional info as we were pretty much tied to our booth. But the members of this Org. do exactly what you do so I would expect the solutions presented there to be close to what you need.

Undisclosed - for true case management or incident management I have found that it requires software outside of the typical VMS capability. I have listed a couple below that you may want to check out. They all have their pros/cons. It will depend on what specifics you require:


JOHN - I can't say that I'm very satisfied with the camera but I think it has to do with the environement also, a busy street is in the picture unless I'm totally zoomed in and I also get a reflexion of the traffic in the windows, all this force me to lower resolution and fps to avoid ghosting. the camera is also at a good distance from the house. My current setting is MPEG-4 (ghosting was worst with H.264) 640*480 22fps and it takes me about 3000kbps.

Damon & Rodney - Thanks for the links, I'll look into it but I suspect that these solutions will be too much for me, my problem is that I don't want a tool to manage the whole investigation but just the camera aspect. I'll keep you posted on the final decision

As for the NATIA, it could be interesting but you need to be sponsored by an actual member get in.

I am a little bit confused why lowering resolution would reduce ghosting. When you say ghosting, you mean something like this?

Is it ghosting or reflection of traffic?

Also, the 'ghosting was worse with H.264' confuses me further?

I assume this is some form of motion blur. Is this happening on relatively still objectives or only those moving?

Finally, have you spoken with Panasonic about this. If not, we can facilitate help with them.

I don't want to confuse you John, I might have chosen the wrong term, it's more like big pixels that leave a trail behind a moving object. Using mpeg4 640*480 22fps took care of the problem.



We (Kinesense) have a video evidence management solution with full reporting and suspect tagging capabilities, feel free to get in touch with me for a demo. We specialise in Law enforcement requirements and were at Natia


Sarah, as a previous end-user in another life I can say I was most impressed with your product. I would recommend "Undisclosed" to take a look as I suspect this may be what he/she is looking for. Cool product imho.

We had this same issue and found there were no systems out there that were robust enough in both the reporting AND video portion. Like Damon we went with Competitive Edge software for our dispatch and our reporting. Now we just download the video clips or still we need from our VMS and attach them to the individual report or the investigation file. We save the clips in the native format and also in a format viewable on any computer with media player. It is a pain when we need to pull over multiple clips or hours, but that was the only full proof way we could make sure clips and video were available and attached. Depending on what your dispatch/reporting software already it my guess is that you would be better off using what you already have instead of trying to find an all-in-one solution.

Case management and PSIM are very expensive solutions. Most case managment systems are very weak in the video handling department. We are still trying to find one that works. Tagging video isn't enough, it needs to be searchable and have the ability to be cross searched.

March offers an analytic that creates searchable video by your criteria, but you would have to forklift your existing hardware also very expensive.

Sorry John if this is the wrong way to recommend a solution...I highly recommend that whatever any one does at least get a working demonstration to figure out what the process is and how much work it takes to do the process.

You might try Soleratec. The Soleratec solution will integrate to the DB for both Genetec and/or Milestone for long term case management as well as video retention for as many cameras as you need while maintaining chain of custody. You can attach other files such as a MS Word document, etc. as well as adding additional METADATA to the clip or stored video. If you are interested hit their web site @ www.solartec.com > Contact Jay Bartlett there.

I strongly recommend against Soleratec, especially for this application. Soleratec does provide video retention, but it is not a case management solution like these end users are requesting. Soleratec's primary benefit is cheap long term storage by moving video to digital tape but it comes with some painful limitations (see our Soleratec review).

CHEAP and PAINFUL probably describes your last doctors visit better than this product manufacturer!

With regards to Long Term Video Retention, your review was factual enough. I'd argue over improvements for searching and investigating.

Since it isn't revealled in your review maybe you missed Soleratec's value proposition as a CHEAP AGNOSTIC management tool for video and the important "things" that can be directly associated to a clips or file such as extra meta-data, notes, audio, extra image files, MS documents and/or scanned documents. It won't break the bank and it certainly isn't PAINFUL.

On another note, do you find satisfactory the time it takes to retrieve a relevant video clip that was recorded 2 months ago on a Genetec, Milestone or ONSSI server with more than 24 cameras being recorded 24/7, at 7.5IPS, normal quality in JPEG/H.264?

Here's an example of a fairly sophisticated (for VMS's) built-in case management function:

We find that the video investigation process surrounds three core steps 1) Retrieval 2) Review 3) Reporting

Retrieval essentially involves getting your video into a viewable format. The source is important. For surveillance ops you might have your Polecams connected via a VMS solution but what about video evidence you pull from third party sources. Can you get this video into a viewable format?

Review is about watching your video to find key events. Can you automate this using VCA technology to help narrow down your search?

Reporting requirements involve making intelligence reports (e.g. 5 suspects in 3 video sources, how do you easily map their movements-09:00 suspect 1 enters scene carrying a bag, leaves at 10:30 with unknown), preparing court reports (storyboarding, annotations, clip title slides etc).

The issue with video is obviously the size so we find that a lot of data gets processed locally, transferred to database, searched and key events with corresponding metadata are then transferred to a searchable digital asset management solution or connected by the case ID to the criminal intelligence system ore records management solution already in place.

Other key issues to take into account when selecting a solution is outlining who needs access to the video and at what stages. Ensuring the chain of evidence is also very important.

David, there are far more appropriate, purpose built offerings for case management / investigations than Soleratec + digital tapes. Either way, this is sufficient for the context of this discussion. If you'd like to discuss Soleratec further specifically, please start a new discussion.

Have you checked out CIP Incident Reporting? Not sure if it will fit your needs but we are buying it for our application.

To all,

I previously mentioned for incident management or case management there are various produicts out there that allow for this. I also mentioned that we use Competitive Edger Software Incs Report Exec. This product along with the others I mentioned have good case management. All digital media can be uploaded into the case report (faxes, scans of paper documents, digital images such as photos). You can also upload the video image however there simply is no way to view the image without exporting to windows media player or the native file format of the VMS.

So internally whta we do is add all relavant digital media as stated about to include jpegs. Than we store the video on a server on our network. This server is backed up in our DR recover site. The Report Exec software will generate a case number similar to a poice case number. When we save the video on the server we name the file with the case number. So within the REport Exec software we can run a search and locate the case report. We can print out the case report which will include the digital media attached. If we need the video and not just the jpegs we will than search the server and locate the stored video and burn a CD/DVD and the two can now be placed in a folder for transport.

Carl its interesting that you mention CIP reporting for your property. We are actually looking at CIP for our standardized incident management / case management system.

We looked at many different solutions and narrowed it down to iView, CIP and a startup called Dark Shield. CIP is the leading company after a year of demos, negotiations and round table discussions with Dark Shield a near second.

Hi Melissa,

We looked at iView years ago. I'm not sure if it was their software or just their salesman but we came out of their sales pitch even more confused than before we started - "Open This", "Open That", Close This", "Minimize That" - my head aches to this day, LOL.

We also looked at Dark Shield. It looks like a capable system but we would've been the first deployment and we've learned not to do that. Cutting edge is OK but nobody wants to be bleeding edge.

In the end, Jason Riffel's "can do" attitude and willingness to work with us on the various aspects we wanted, including not just Incident Reporting but also clip file management, review logs (for when outside entities review clips) and other features and functions won the day.

We have also been burned with start ups and being the first customer out of the gate. Can't go down that path again, no matter how attractive the product.

iView's sales team/closer team lost the deal for them with our company. Initial sales came on strong then handed us over to a more "qualified" representative who was not responsive and truly didn't know the product well enough to answer even our simple questions. Not to mention most every question was met with "sure, we do that. it's an add on." oye.

iView also required far too many clicks for even the simplest of tasks and offered very few "hot key" shortcuts for our operators. This has not changed from your demo a few years ago. It was just too clunky.