Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office
Boost security at the Oklahoma County Detention Center and expedite internal investigations by delivering access to indisputable evidence for conflict resolution, greater investigative success, and to reduce the incident of false liability claims.Download PDF
Officers and administrators at the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) seamlessly manage the Avigilon HD Surveillance System using Avigilon Control Center network video management software (NVMS) with HD Stream Management and have installed 138 Avigilon HD cameras ranging from one to five megapixels throughout the 13-story facility. OCSO has also installed four Analog Video Encoders to dramatically improve the performance of its existing 16 analog cameras and store up to 90 days of continuous surveillance video. A rotating staff of 20 officers monitor the Avigilon HD Surveillance System around-the-clock from the central control room that houses 12 monitors and two workstations.
The Avigilon HD Surveillance System delivers complete awareness in all prison areas without requiring a security guard for each cell pod – a savings of more than $10 million annually. Avigilon Control Center software is extremely user-friendly and intuitive, making installation simple, reducing the time required for training, and lowering maintenance costs. The OCSO can also cut investigation times from days to seconds. With the Avigilon HD Surveillance System in place, the OCSO can also now provide clear, irrefutable evidence to the District Attorney’s office, which they were not able to do with its previous analog-based system. In addition, the OCSO can now respond more quickly to incidents to resolve conflicts and improve overall safety. Finally, the OCSO can defend itself again false claims of officer negligence or use of excessive force to dramatically reduce liability costs.
- $10 million savings annually
- Reduced liability costs
- Lowered operational costs
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Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office Deploys Avigilon HD Surveillance System to Capture Irrefutable Evidence and Reduce Liability Claims at Detention Center
The largest police department in the State of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) provides law enforcement, custodial, and court-related services to more than 706,000 citizens in 15 cities across its jurisdiction. Since 1997, Sheriff John Whetsel has openly embraced changes in law enforcement, social circumstances, and technology to better serve and protect the citizens of Oklahoma County. With a key interest in deploying only the most advanced technologies to enhance police service, Sheriff Whetsel has deployed the Avigilon High Definition (HD) Surveillance System at the OCSO Detention Center to better protect inmates and staff, boost investigative success to ensure inmate accountability, and reduce the incident of false liability claims.
“I came across Avigilon and immediately fell in love...”
Enhanced Surveillance on a Budget
The OCSO Detention Center is the largest bureau in the agency with 450 employees responsible for the custody and welfare of more than 2,700 inmates. At 268,000 square feet, the OCSO Detention Center is the largest in the state, but with its previous pan-tilt-zoom analog- based surveillance system, was unable to effectively monitor the entire facility. The pan-tilt-zoom cameras were not only unable to provide the image clarity required for evidence collection, they also often passed over critical incidents because they were covering other areas. “After a comprehensive review, the Department of Justice mandated that we improve security across the facility by adding a full-time security guard in each of the center’s 24 pods,” explained Captain David Baisden. “But at a cost of close to $10 million per year, this just was not a viable option.”
A budget-driven agency, the OCSO turned to the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center for advice on how to improve its security environment as cost-effectively as possible. After a thorough assessment, it was determined that an HD surveillance system could deliver complete and effective coverage of the entire facility, without requiring around-the-clock staff. “After researching options online, I came across Avigilon and immediately fell in love,” said Captain Baisden, who contacted Digi Surveillance Systems, a local provider of surveillance system design, installation, and service. “After several excellent product demonstrations, it became clear that Avigilon was the right solution to meet our needs.”
Avigilon Delivers Complete Coverage
Officers and administrators at the OCSO Detention Center seamlessly manage the Avigilon HD Surveillance System using Avigilon Control Center network video management software (NVMS) with HD Stream Management, which was built from the ground up to manage HD surveillance video. The OCSO has installed 138 Avigilon HD cameras ranging from one to five megapixels throughout the four cell pods per floor for unmatched performance and complete coverage. The OCSO also installed four Analog Video Encoders to dramatically improve the performance of its existing 16 analog cameras and store up to 90 days of continuous surveillance video. A rotating staff of 20 officers monitors the Avigilon HD Surveillance System around-the- clock from the central control room that houses 12 monitors and two workstations.
“The maintenance costs of our previous system were killing us...”
Simple Installation a Key Requirement
Ease-of-installation was a key requirement of the new HD surveillance system. “To reduce training and ongoing support costs, we needed to deploy a surveillance system that we could install and integrate into our existing infrastructure ourselves,” noted the Captain. According to Deputy Paul Whisman, who installed the system in just 60 days, Avigilon Control Center NVMS is extremely user-friendly and intuitive, making installation simple and reducing the time required for training. With the assistance of Digi Surveillance Systems, the Avigilon HD Surveillance System was set up and configured for optimal performance in no time. “Because of its user-friendly software, the Avigilon HD Surveillance System dramatically reduces the number of steps required to perform certain tasks, such as adding a new camera to the system,” said Deputy Whisman. “With our previous system, I would need to go through multiple steps to add a camera, which not only consumed more time, but also presented more pitfalls and therefore greater room for error.” Because of Avigilon’s ease-of-use and reliability, the OCSO has also been able to reduce ongoing maintenance costs, no longer having to rely on the vendor or integrator to support the system when needed. “The maintenance costs of our previous system were killing us, but with Avigilon, I don’t have to worry about system performance or pay annual maintenance fees,” added Captain Baisden.
By installing the Avigilon HD Surveillance System, the OCSO can cost-effectively meet the Department of Justice mandate for improved security and achieve a significant return on investment. “The Avigilon HD Surveillance System delivers complete awareness in all prison areas without requiring a security guard for each cell pod – a savings of more than $10 million annually,” stated Captain Baisden.
The OCSO has also benefited from a considerable reduction in internal investigation times, which have been cut from days to seconds. According to Deputy Jason Bass of the internal investigations unit, “Avigilon is the greatest surveillance tool I have ever used—there is nothing I can’t do with the system.” With their previous system, OCSO officers would have to pull inmates and witnesses from their cells to try to resolve a conflict, with no guarantee of resolution. For example, the OCSO recently investigated a conflict over a red cell phone, which an inmate claimed he didn’t have. “In the past, it would have taken us a week to interview everyone involved to better understand the nature of the incident,” explained Captain Baisden. “But with Avigilon, I was able to pull up a clear image of the individual holding the cell phone in his hand and within seconds, the case was closed.”
With the Avigilon HD Surveillance System in place, OSCO officers can also reduce the amount of note taking required during an investigation, because they can confidently rely on the quality of the video as evidence. “We can also confirm the accuracy of our notes with the HD video to further ensure the precision and consistency of our investigations,” added Captain Baisden.
“In just one month, we have already shared thirty clips with the DA, who has been extremely impressed with the quality of the Avigilon HD video.”
Avigilon Delivers Valuable Proof
One of the greatest advantages of the Avigilon HD Surveillance System is that it delivers real, useable proof to help resolve conflicts at the detention center. “With Avigilon in place, the first question we now ask is whether we have video of an incident or not,” explained Baisden. “In the past, checking footage was the third or fourth step in the investigative process.” According to Captain Baisden, the OCSO’s old analog-based surveillance system would “pixel out” and could not deliver the image clarity needed for conclusive proof. In fact, the OCSO never provided surveillance footage from its analog- based system to the District Attorney’s Office as part of an inmate’s file, because it simply was not good enough. “In just one month, we have already shared thirty clips with the DA, who has been extremely impressed with the quality of the Avigilon HD video.”
With clear evidence in hand, the OCSO can also respond more quickly to incidents at the detention center and resolve conflicts before they become too serious, improving the overall safety of both inmates and staff.
“Avigilon is the greatest surveillance tool I have ever used—there is nothing I can’t do with the system.”
Reducing Officer Liability
Like all police officers across the country, deputies at the OCSO Detention Center face false claims of excessive force or mistreatment from inmates on a daily basis, which can result in timely investigations and costly lawsuits. “Recently, we had an inmate claim that an officer used excessive force to confine him,” explained Captain Baisden. “But when we reviewed the Avigilon HD surveillance video, it was clear that the inmate had tried to head butt the officer without provocation. The case was quickly thrown out.” The OCSO averted another potential lawsuit from an inmate’s family, who claimed that the inmate had died due to officer negligence. The OCSO had clear footage of the inmate entering the cell alert, and then several moments later, slump in her wheelchair. They also had footage of the officers trying to resuscitate her. “We had irrefutable proof that that the inmate died of natural causes and that we had done all we could to revive her. With the Avigilon HD Surveillance System in place, we hope to put an end to these types of false claims.”
“Our success with the Avigilon HD Surveillance System offers proof to law enforcement agencies across the nation that it is time to move away from the poor quality of analog- based surveillance to the power and performance of HD video.”
The Future of HD is Now
With a technology-savvy sheriff at its helm, the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office embraces innovation and advancement in an effort to constantly improve police services and ensure the safety and security of its citizens. “With a strong track record in deploying advanced technologies across the department, the Avigilon HD Surveillance System stands out as the most exciting piece of technology that we have,” concluded Captain Baisden. “Our success with the Avigilon HD Surveillance System offers proof to law enforcement agencies across the nation that it is time to move away from the poor quality of analog- based surveillance to the power and performance of HD video.”