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GCN : March 2013
GCN MARCH 2013 • GCN.COM 31 The Oklahoma County Jail is a busy, aging facility. A 13-story building built in 1991 in downtown Oklahoma City, it receives about 44,000 de- tainees a year and has had trouble handling inmate violence because of the difficulty of adequately su- pervising its 30 housing units, or "pods," that hold as many as 100 inmates each. In 2009 the jail was averaging about 300 altercations per month, some small, some serious, said Capt. David Baisden of the Okla- homa County Sheriff's Office. But the installation three years ago of a high-definition video system to monitor the pods and other ar- eas of the jail has cut the number of incidents by 90 percent and streamlined investigations and prosecutions without hiring new personnel. Investigations that formerly took days or weeks now can be done in minutes and he estimates that the county has avoided $10 million a year in costs of hiring new detention officers. The most obvious parts of the new video system are the HD megapixel digital cameras that are replacing older analog devices. But it is the backend of the system that provides the real value, said Rick Ramsay, senior product man- ager at Avigilon Corp., the compa- ny that supplied the cameras and management software for Okla- homa County. "The key is effectively managing high definition," Ramsay said. Managing means effectively indexing, storing and recovering daily data streams from the facil- ity's digital and analog cameras -- often terabytes of data -- using Avi- gilon's Control Center software. The move to the HD video sys- tem was in part a response to a Jus- tice Department investigation of jail conditions that found, among other things, the jail, which was built to house 1,250 inmates but held 2,543 in April 2007, failed to provide reasonable security for prisoners. "Actual direct supervision of de- tainees at the jail is virtually non- existent," DOJ found. At that time, the jail was using inadequate analog cameras with pan-tilt-zoom ability in the hous- ing pods, which consist of an open day area surrounded by two tiers of 25 cells each, holding up to 100 detainees. "It was never in the right place when an altercation broke out," A high-def video surveillance system gave an Oklahoma lock-up a clear view into the benefits of tighter prison management --- and millions in savings. OKLAHOMA JAIL TURNS TO HD VIDEO TO STEM INMATE VIOLENCE SURVEILLANCE TECH CASE STUDY BY WILLIAM JACKSON Oklahoma County spent $364,000 to purchase 138 cameras and Avigilon's Control Center software to provide round-the-clock high- definition surveillance of the jail and inmates. AVIGILON