What Is The Best Way To Set Up An Interrogation Room?

Just wondering what you guys are now using for law enforcement interrogation room recording. I have always used an analog camera with a time stamp generator recording to a traditional consumer dvr with a high end microphone. This way has seemed to work best for the not so tech savy end users. This option also allows easy text insertion via key board with the time stamp.

Analog text/ time stamp generators seem to be disappearing.

All input is appreciated.

I think they prefer to call them "Interview Rooms" now...

I have simply used a 2Mp vandal dome camera with a professional mic, such as the CAD Audio 210 connected to a simple NVR. Sometimes corner mounted with a fancy corner housing.

In some applications we have been using multible cameras for different angles. Overall room coverage and tight FOV on subjects face.

It can be as simple or as complicated as the customer wants to make it. One of the problems with the live viewing of an NVR/IP system is the delay in the video. Some customers freak out about that, some do not. Also, audio/video sync on most IP systems is off. Again, some P.D have issues with this, some do not. Louroe is THE big name in external microphones for law enforcement. Their mics are fantastic and do have a lot of options for styles and mounts.

One of the bigger issues with interview rooms is the offloading of the video... meaning how it's offloaded and what file type it is offloaded in. You get into issues of watermarkes, proprietary video files vs non, frame counters, on screen date/time. Etc.

I've seen some police departments use stand alone Sony DVD recorders with an analog wide angle camera and Louroe mics as VCR replacements.

Some departments that already have IP systems will dedicate a camera and mic from it as a 'room' but I'd say the majority of them do stand alone systems for interview rooms. There are a handful of companies that custom make interview room recording systems, but they are extremely expensive. One of the other requests that comes up often is CMS... or case management. No traditional VMS has the CMS that they want, but some of the custom units I mentioned have been written from the ground up to be interview room systems.

So, to answer your question, there is no 'best way' to do it. It's all about how specific the customer wants to get. I personally think that a standalone, single channel analog system with a good Louroe mic is best, but I'm biased..... I helped design one. I've heard of customers using SD card based mobile DVRs for their interview rooms because they were very simple to use and offload the video from.

Ask the customer about their specific requirements, regarding to:

-Watermarks/date time stamp/frame counter/proprietary video format

-is anyone watching the video live? Is a video/audio delay ok?

-Do they have an existing system at their department that they can expand and use, or do they want it to be independent?

-is long term storage of the video required? IF so, how much?

-Is a CMS required?

-How 'technical' is their department? Will they be able to handle and operate an NVR system, or do you have to go analog or HD analog?

-How are they planning to 'activate' the system? A manual button is requested more often than you would think.

I was formerly a product manager for interview room systems and helped design several. These were all issues and questions that came up pretty often.

It needs to be simple drop a disc in and hit record. I will stick with what I have been doing thanks for the input. It works, its simple and most law enforcement individuals are not tech savy.

Louroe Mics are A+++ always use them. Doing it "the old way" there is zero lag. It's not Megapixel HD, but that isn't needed. I have installed systems in the past in small rooms with 2 chairs and a desk. The interviewee didn't have the option of getting up and walking around.

Thanks for the input. It doesn't sound like any manufacture has created anything for integrators.

It sounds like the products available are marketed to, installed, and procured by end users.

That is really not true. Video resolution has increased and audio sampling rates with good microphones give much better quality. I normally use P8221 axis audio module recording at 128 aac with louroe and wdr 720 cameras at 30 fps. Now Exacq has case management in Enterprise, which works well.

3xLogic's Vigil system has had a dedicated case-file module for several years now, since at least version 6 as I recall (now at V8): http://3xlogic.com/3xproducts/vigil-vrm

Go with this...


Hsitorically, we've found law enforcement interview recording requirements to exceed to the capability of traditional video surveillance systems. Some drawbacks in using video surveillance system for interview recording include: audio syncronization, audio/video file integration in storage and archiving, interview recording ownership, granular controls for access permissions and audit trails.

Starting back in 2007 we used a DVR-based solution and workstation software that worked pretty well. Unfortunately, the manufacturer was acquired, the product discontinued.

We didn't really find a good replacement and with an impatient installed base, we developed our own solution on top of a solid OEM streaming engine.

Recently in our state, the judicial system released recommended guidelines for interview recording that includes two camera / one microphone per interview room (camera with overview of room and camera with isolated view of interviewee). We were able to accomodate this.

Some earlier posts commented on louroe microphones which are very good. We've also used the Crown PZM-11LL in the past. Today, all our room equipment is AXIS - camera(s), microphone, and room controller.

With a growing installed base with our new solution, we get to continue to listen to our customers new requirements and add to the system. If we were using a COTS VMS, it would be much harder to build on this market segment.

What are you guys charging for these high end solutions with installation as a stand alone system ? With the overview camera? 3-5K?

If you want to send me a direct email - brad@carolinavideosecurity.com - I will be glad to answer that. Your post says "Undisclosed 1 Integrator". So, won't send pricing info or post details here.

I'm not asking for cost. What are you talking retail ball park. It doesn't take rocket science when talking Axis cameras ect. to know it's not expensive out of a smaller police departme ts budget.

Turn-key solution, installed, training, two-cameras per room, audio, card reader, 50 fobs, server with 1,000 hours archive for 1080p / 30 FPS with audio x 2, 1st year support, application updates, about $6 to7K per room. Some variability, not all rooms in the same building, etc. Solution supports multiple rooms per server.