New Jersey Police Use AI-Enabled Audio and Video Redaction to Balance Transparency and Privacy in Public Records Disclosure
The Pemberton, New Jersey, police department may not have been the first in the country to deploy body-worn cameras on their officers. But the small Burlington County force, located 20 miles outside the state capital of Trenton, is already well equipped to release sensitive information fast to the public while adhering to privacy laws.
In a recent webinar, Pemberton Police Chief David Jantas spoke with Veritone’s Head of Government and Legal & Compliance Jon Gacek and Microsoft Director of Public Safety and Justice Rick Zak about the challenges the department faced launching a body-worn camera program in March 2020, the unique qualities they looked for in a technology vendor, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has already surfaced another use for the Redact software.
Unlocking the Value of Body-Worn Cameras and Other Video Evidence Sources
In addition to cameras worn by officers, departments like Pemberton are increasingly using video from businesses, residences, drones and dash cams to gather information about crimes. Without an intuitive, quick-to-learn, and accurate way to redact private and sensitive information contained within these videos, the department faced significant challenges in the use of video content during investigatory and legal proceedings.
Chief Jantas shared some early takeaways from the department’s partnership with Veritone that will prove valuable for any public safety organization that might be considering the expanded use of video.
- Finding the right partner: During the conversation, Chief Jantas indicated the department’s launch of body-worn cameras was later than others. However, after securing grant money, the department was able to develop a program and begin vetting technology vendors that could make the job of redacting sensitive and private information from the video easier. Veritone emerged as the right solution: According to Chief Jantas, officers could be trained in an hour, the software checked all of the boxes for security (including CJIS compliance and the stability of Microsoft Azure’s cloud), and the system made good business sense. Not only could it save the department cost, resources and time, the platform’s advanced and continuously evolving features futureproof the investment for years to come. During the webinar, you’ll learn how Pemberton police are making use of the Redact system’s text-to-speech features, saving significant time on administrative tasks like incident reporting.
- Being prepared: Pemberton PD wanted to be ready to react in the event that a critical public safety event required the quick release of incident video. In 2019, the department faced criticism related to a police-involved shooting until Pemberton PD clarified events by releasing video — which could have been circulated much sooner with a better redaction method. In the webinar, Chief Jantas also lays out the features that are helping his officers release video to the public quicker, and discusses special projects that are now possible.
- Finding a tool that can go anywhere: The COVID-19 pandemic means officers are on the front lines of keeping the public safe, and where they go, so do their body-worn cameras. When a public records request recently asked for footage of a healthcare professional inside a hospital, the Pemberton police could have faced a serious challenge in scrubbing an officer’s body camera footage. However, with Veritone Redact, the department was easily able to redact all private health information in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and readily released the video. Chief Jantas discusses more potential use cases and features that could help departments that find themselves in unique situations.
To learn more about the unique challenges faced by the Pemberton Police Department, watch our webinar replay.