Letter: Police video data storage too costly

To the editor:

In recent weeks there have been two articles regarding Greenwood police equipment and storage expenses. I want to state upfront, I fully support doing whatever is necessary to equip our police department with state-of-the-art technology. However, I am concerned about the fees being charged for video data storage.

The May 11 article stated the police department paid $45,200 for 800 gigabytes to store all body camera video for 2015. Additionally, they are considering a new five-year agreement that will cost more than $300,000 for unlimited storage, as well as new Tasers and body cameras.

Three things in the personal computing market that constantly change and become cheaper and faster on a regular basis are processors, memory and disk storage space. I recently purchased a laptop with an Intel i7 processor, 16 GB of memory and 1 terabyte hard drive for $650. 1 TB disk drives are readily available for $50 and $100 will get you a 3 TB drive. For those that may not know, the 800GB mentioned above is 200MB shy of equaling 1TB.

I know personal computer components cost less than network/file server equipment, but those costs are constantly decreasing also. Greenwood has its own information technology department and hosts the city’s website along with other services; why don’t they purchase the necessary storage equipment? It would be considerably cheaper than paying a third party vendor.

If the body camera vendor claims data access is proprietary, then find another vendor. There are also data compression utility programs that will significantly reduce the amount of disk space required to store the data.

One last point: never, ever execute a long-term service agreement. Anything longer than two years and you stand to become obsolete. If it has to exceed two years, then have a renegotiating provision in the contract to revisit the issue after two years. This is evidenced by the fact local schools are looking to replace current student tablets that are now outdated after two to three years.

I admit I am not familiar with body camera or Taser equipment requirements, but it certainly appears to me there is a much more reasonable data storage solution. However, I did work in the IT arena for 30 years prior to retiring 15 years ago. I think this storage issue could be addressed for less than $25,000 for hardware and software. Even if I am off by a few thousand dollars, this would still save the department significant funds to purchase the state-of-the-art equipment they deserve.

Bill Reynolds