Utility, Inc. Helps the Lawrence Police Department Use AWS-Based Video Solution to Protect Officers

Utility Inc. is an APN Advanced Technology Partner

Developing a Cloud-Connected Body-Camera Solution

In police departments across the United States, officers are increasingly using body cameras to capture real-time video and audio footage on the job. However, many of these cameras require officers to manually turn them on and off. In addition, officers often need to wait until they arrive at police headquarters to manually upload the data.

Utility, Inc., an AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Technology Partner, wanted to solve these challenges by developing cloud-connected body cameras that automatically turn on or off and transmit live data to the cloud. “Many police departments rely on docking stations for cameras at headquarters, which involves wired uploading of data,” says Jason Dombkowski, Director of Law Enforcement Relations for Utility. “We wanted to create a wireless solution that transmits data from the police officer’s camera without that officer needing to do anything except focus on the job. We needed scalable, high-performance technology to enable this, and the AWS Cloud was the perfect fit.”

Launching Applications for Police Departments on AWS

Using AWS, Utility developed and launched the BodyWorn body camera, a video recording solution with policy-based recording. BodyWorn has automatic recording triggers based on department policies, with all video from body and in-vehicle cameras automatically uploaded directly to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). Utility also developed RocketIoT, an in-vehicle recording and communication system for patrol cars that relies on AWS IoT Core, a managed service for connected devices.

Utility’s BodyWorn video, audio, and metadata can be accessed through the company’s cloud-based digital evidence management solution, AVaiLWEB, which runs on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances. AVaiLWEB was built on AWS GovCloud (US), which helps Utility meet Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) requirements for protecting sensitive data. 

Utility helped the Lawrence Police Department in Indiana deploy BodyWorn and RocketIoT, which gives the department an integrated, comprehensive video management system combining body and in-vehicle cameras. “We wanted to deploy the most advanced technology possible to enable officer and public safety,” says David Hofmann, Chief of Police for the Lawrence Police Department.

Keeping Officers and Communities Safer

Taking advantage of Utility BodyWorn and RocketIoT, the Lawrence Police Department is ensuring its officers stay safe at all times. “By running our BodyWorn and RocketIoT solutions on AWS, we can give police departments constant communication and situational awareness of their most valuable resources—officers on patrol,” says Dombkowski. “Officer Down knows when an officer is on the ground, and it automatically alerts everyone in the department to that officer’s location. Each camera is also a GPS unit, which interacts with AVaiLWeb on AWS to show all police officers on an interactive digital map. The Lawrence Police Department knows where all its resources are, whether police cars and trucks or officers in the street.”

Hofmann adds, “Using the features of Utility BodyWorn and RocketIoT, we can keep our officers safer in our city while also improving trust in the community by making police-citizen encounters fully transparent.”

"By running our BodyWorn and RocketIoT solutions on AWS, we can give police departments constant communication and situational awareness of their most valuable resources—officers on patrol."

- Jason Dombkowski, Director of Law Enforcement Relations for Utility

Automatically Uploading Police Video to the AWS Cloud

Because an officer’s BodyWorn camera automatically begins recording when the officer leaves the vehicle, Lawrence Police Department officers do not need to manually turn cameras on or off. “Manually operated body cameras and car systems depend on officers remembering to turn them on,” Dombkowski says. “Because they don’t have to worry about this, Lawrence Police Department officers can focus completely on serving and protecting the community while on patrol.” Video data is provided securely to AWS as it is recorded, and videos can be played back immediately through AVaiLWEB for review. “Taking advantage of the automatic recording capabilities in Utility’s solution, we have instant access to the data we need to help drive our police policies and procedures,” says Hofmann.

Utility plans to use AWS to deploy additional technologies for police departments, such as a gunshot detection solution that relies on AWS-connected classroom sensors. “If there is a gunshot in a classroom, police officers in close proximity to the school are notified instantly so they can respond as quickly as possible,” says Hofmann. “Solutions like this, in addition to our existing BodyWorn and RocketIoT applications, are only possible because of the scalability and storage capabilities of AWS.”

About the Lawrence Police Department

The Lawrence Police Department protects and serves the residents of and visitors to Lawrence, Indiana, a city of more than 46,000 people located northeast of Indianapolis.

About Utility, Inc.

Founded in Georgia in 2001, Utility, Inc. is a venture capital–funded company that provides mission-critical communications and real-time situational awareness through RocketIoT vehicle video routers, and BodyWorn video systems for police, fire, EMS, electric and gas utility, and public transit customers across the US.

Published April 2020