IPVMU Certified | 04/28/14 02:33pm
To clarify, your customer wants a physical "on/off" switch located in the room they can toggle during interviews?
What we have done in the past is much more low tech, but gives the PD more piece of mind; just have a switched outlet installed in the ceiling above the interrogation room, and a switch on the wall. Power the Axis IO unit off of that outlet. Let the PD know that once they turn the switch on for recording, they need to wait 3 minutes for the Axis unit to boot up and connect to the server.
How about a small standalone slowly blinking red-bulb with push button toggle, with area constrained motion detection. Simple to use: If the light is on, then its recording!
@SeanPatton, why 'more piece of mind'? I'm not knocking the switch, but I think of power-cycling equipment like take-off and landing of an airplane, that's where the equipment is most likely to fail. Personally I've witnessed several Axis cameras that were fine once booted, but occasionally would have to be cycled twice. What's your experience been?
Also on a lighter note, doesn't the 3 minute cycle delay preclude or at least make awkward the use of the time honored cinematic tradition of turning off the recorder momentarily to make some private and constitutionally inappropriate suggestions to the Mirandized detainee, before resuming recording?
Chesapeake & Midlantic | 04/28/14 07:58pm
Question: couldn't you just wire a SPDT button into the I/O port of a camera and program it to only record when the I/O is closed? Does any camera have this ability?
Yup. That's what we did before for the exact scenario.
Most police interrogation rooms prefer that the cameras be covert, enclosed in a housing that resembles a smoke detector, PIR sensor, clock, etc. The perps usually clam up when they see anything even closely resembling a camera in the room. Unfortunatelythere aren't many manufacturers of IP covert cams (unless you want to rig something using an Axis P12but that doesn't have an audio input) These are usually analog cameras (Kalatel used to make all kinds of them) and require a separate audio setup such as the Louroe Verifiact A microphone mounted on the ceiling and IF-1 module. Connect all of these to an encoder with audio and I/O functions (such as Axis or Verint) along with a wall or under-desk mounted toggle switch connected to the input to trigger recording as you would do with any alarm based schedule, map the I/O point to start and stop recording.
I agree with the comments about covert vs. overt it is a localized decision (IMO).
We typically suggested a switch sometimes in the room sometimes just outside again local preference drives that. A key we always felt was positive feedback at the switch i.e. an indicator LED or lamp driven by the change in state at the recorder. In one large install in Illinois part of the requirement was confirmation that the recording was off in case of a visit by an attorney in the interview room monitoring was still possible for saftey reasons. It did seem to me that more and more departments did not seek covert, the assumption being hey we have cameras all over the place so why hide them and many suitable cameras with wide FOV's today are available in small compat form factors that are almost invisible in the first place. We have also recently deplyed a PD with Genetec VMS and we set up rules that defined an event. The switch contact and lamp on/off used teh digitaial In / Out points on the Axis cameras we installed Laroe verifact mic elements along with the appropriate IF series pre amps we landed the analog audio at the camera as well we felt the Laroe gave us better sound quality than the built in camera mic options. IMHO audio is what trips up a good interview system and more than one investigator informed me audio was more imprtant than the video having both is great but audio is the priority.
IPVMU Certified | 04/30/14 01:05am
From a California / West Coast perspective most Law Enforcement agencies and the detectives who use the interview room do NOT want a camera that is obvious. If the Officer wants to go with a low key approach then it's set up for that and if you want to add some stress to the process, there are much better ways to do that than to have a camera stuck in a corner. If you poke around a bit you will find that the FBI does not as standard practice use audio or video during most interviews.
John Grocke's recommendations are spot on for what I have seen/used in police interview rooms and agree that it still pretty hard to find a covert IP based camera.
We just switch power on our LouRoe microphones and analog cameras. One caveat to that approach: the encoder used must be capable of handling loss of camera signals with aplomb. I've found that many encoders do funny things when camera power is switched off and on. It also depends on the camera itself.
I've seen encoders choke in these situations, with symptoms including continual dropped frames, resetting their programming and even exhibiting strange video artifacts and huge bit rate increases; all requiring a reboot to fix.
On the other hand, other encoders exhibit no problems.
Thanks everyone! Great information and even Genetec provided a very detailed solution.