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“We looked at several video forensics systems and there was just a ton of training required. The ability to jump in and use VideoFOCUS Pro with minimal training was the deciding factor. My team and I were able to use it quickly and efficiently.”

—Todd Petrick
Criminalist, Omaha, NB, USA

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July 2010

Taking a Pro-Active Approach To Fighting Crime
Omaha Police Department

A historically low-crime city, Omaha, Nebraska has seen an increase in crime and gang related shootings in recent years.

Working with Neighbors - and VFPro - to Make an Impact

The Omaha Police Department works hard to maintain trust and confidence within the community, working with neighborhoods to fight crimes and fear of crime in their areas. Partnering this hands-on approach is the department's embrace of new technologies to advance investigations and identify hot spots. Their tool? Salient Stills' video forensics system, VFPro.

Criminalist Todd Petrick, with the Omaha PD Crime Lab, supervises the night shift and depends on VFPro to get the job done. His team focuses on quick response and gather any available video - from security cameras, videotape, closed circuit TV systems, digital video cameras, even cell phones - to take an active role in the investigations to follow. Videos arrive in a multitude of formats, often grainy or unclear, so Petrick and his team use VFPro to demultiplex the video and easily clarify images and video, building a story they can use in court.

With the variety of systems available, VFPro became the go-to choice. Quality of images was one factor. So was ease of use; VFPro has proven itself the easiest video forensics solution on the market. "We looked at several video forensics systems and there was just a ton of training required," said Petrick. "The ability to jump in and use VFPro with minimal training was the deciding factor. My team and I were able to use it quickly and efficiently."

Help From A Grant Paved the Way

With help from the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program, which awards grants "…to help improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner services", Petrick was able to purchase the system that gave him the ability capture and process digital video feeds fast. "Our digital case load was increasing and we wanted to increase our efficiency and decrease the backlog of digital video evidence."

They found VFPro's digital feature set better than anything else out there, enabling them in minutes to capture and export video from dozens of proprietary digital video formats, and quickly review each camera view frame by frame. Plus, they can rely on the product and its service team without fail. "Salient Stills' technical support has always been prompt to answer questions, solve a problem and trouble shoot," added Petrick.

Multiple Crimes. One Helpful Solution.

One recent example shows how VFPro makes things happen for the Omaha PD team everyday. Petrick's night shift team faced a recurring series of robberies and burglaries in the area. Evidence gathered didn't point directly to a suspect. The team turned its attention to crime scene videos and they found their answer. The VFPro processed video was able to link the crimes based on facial features and tattoos made visible by VFPro's work. So clear that one still revealed unique tattoos on a suspect's head and hand while others showed similar suspect clothing. Based on video evidence, the Omaha PD was able to connect the crimes and identify the suspects.

Petrick and his team at the Omaha PD have used VFPro for over 250 investigations in one year and continue to depend on the system to generate higher resolution videos and stills for the city of Omaha and to develop leads and identity suspects for federal prosecutors and smaller police departments in Nebraska and Iowa.

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