Two Thousand Seattle Police Dashcam Videos Deleted Because of “Technology Glitch”
Aug 30, 2016
by Ansel Herz
Dashcam videos are important because of cases like this. SPD
A technological failure led to the destruction of 2,283 videos recorded by patrol cars of police conduct over the course of two days in July, according to Seattle police.
During a press call today, Brian Maxey, the department’s chief operating officer, called the loss of the videos “unacceptable.”
This is the latest in a series of deletion incidents for the department’s in-car video system. There’s an ongoing issue of dropped video frames. In 2011, KOMO and watchdog Eric Rachner uncovered the wholesale loss of dashcam recordings.
This time, videos showing 89 arrests, 138 traffic citations, 95 oral warnings, 35 police street stops, 60 crisis contacts, and five incidents involving low-level uses of force between July 13 and 14 were lost.
The department said the “glitch” involved the failure of a server, designed for long-term storage of the footage, to capture videos from a temporary central server before they were deleted.
Seattle Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller said technicians were able to recover about half of the missing videos, but that it “took time” to figure out what had gone wrong and confirm that many of the clips were irretrievable. Hence the month-long delay between the glitch and the department’s disclosure today.
Mattmiller said he didn’t know how many hours of footage were deleted.
“There’s nothing sinister about this,” said Chief Kathleen O’Toole. “This is a technology glitch here. Because we’re under a consent decree, because there are issues of public trust in policing, we thought it was important [to be transparent and get this out there].”