investigating video evidence after a road rage incident turns deadly

Tempe, AZ, located just east of Phoenix, is a college town that is home to Arizona State University. The Tempe Police Department boasts approximately 350 sworn officers plus civilian staff. Within the Department exists a sworn Digital Forensics Unit responsible for extraction, acquisition, processing and analysis of digital evidence, and a Civilian Intel Analyst Unit who assists with criminal history analysis and criminal investigation assistance.

iNPUT-ACE has improved the way Tempe investigates cases, and it made a significant impact on a major homicide investigation in 2019.

Background

Tempe Officers and Detectives were frequently encountering video files they were not able to play. Investigators would either seize files that were technically complicated and unplayable, or they would seize the wrong players. This was a constant problem for them and caused significant delays. They spent too much time looking for video players that might work and could never really trust the integrity of the converted video files. Initially, they did not even know there was a solution.

Detective David Larson, along with a few other officers, attended a course called Video Literacy: What Every Investigator Needs to Know. One of the instructors, Grant Fredericks, used iNPUT-ACE during the course, and Detective Larson reached out to learn more about the solution.

The Solution

The Tempe Police Department started by selecting several Full Licenses for both their Digital Forensic Unit and the Intel Analyst group. Each user of the software went through the training, which Larson said has “proven to be extremely useful.”

iNPUT-ACE video evidence software and training

Location: Tempe, AZ
United States

Industry: Law
Enforcement

Solution Overview

  • Multiple Full Licenses for the Digital Forensic Unit and for the Intel Analyst Group
  • Training for all users Business Benefits
  • Enhanced Efficiency
  • Trust the integrity of video evidence
  • Organize and investigate footage from multiple cameras sources
  • Create clear reports for detectives or for court

The Outcome

Detective Larson said, “iNPUT-ACE has proven invaluable. Having the ability to play all the different file types and then convert them into a standard format has saved us so much time and ensured that the video evidence plays back accurately. iNPUT-ACE has been extremely successful when attempting to play different file types. This benefit alone has made the investment worth it, but the additional tools have proven to add to the value as well.

One particular event stands out as a demonstration of the way iNPUT-ACE has enabled Tempe Police to better serve their community.

Investigating Video Evidence:

The Homicide Case

In March 2019, there was a road rage incident between the drivers of two vehicles. While both vehicles were in motion on a public street, one driver pulled a weapon and opened fire on the other driver.

The victim ended up in a single-vehicle collision, and the suspect fled the area. This incident spanned a couple of miles of roadway.

During the investigation, 10-12 unique DVR systems were uncovered at various businesses and residences that captured the path of the vehicles throughout the incident. The files seized from these DVRs were in a variety of file formats.

“iNPUT-ACE has proven invaluable.”

Detective David Larson

Tempe Police Department

iNPUT-ACE supported this important investigation in several ways:

  • iNPUT-ACE played the footage from all available DVR systems.
  • Some of the recovered footage files were broken up into many, small clips. The “Concatenate” feature merged the footage into a seamless feed.
  • Multiple sub-clips were generated.
  • The Zoom feature helped in identifying the make and model of the suspect vehicle.
  • The “Canvas Editor” feature was used to make a video showing multiple synchronized camera angles depicting the vehicles as they passed through the scene.
  • Finally, the software was used to create a video report combining everything together in one playable video for the case detectives and charging attorneys.

“Video is simply a non-negotiable today.”

Detective David Larson

Tempe Police Department

This is just one example, but iNPUT-ACE has proven to provide great value to the Tempe Police. Detective Larson explained why the ability to play and investigate video is so important:

“Video is simply a non-negotiable today. Police agencies cannot get by without the ability to play video evidence accurately. The people of Tempe know this and expect this, and our leadership definitely recognizes the importance as well.”

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