Saturday, August 7, 2010

Nashville loses video of 1,300 traffic stops

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Metro Nashville police say a computer software problem has blanked about 1,300 police dashboard camera videos. The loss puts prosecution of some DUI and aggressive driving cases in doubt. The president of the software provider, however, said the program worked correctly. The Tennessean quoted police officials who said the video erasures occurred when the department tried to install a flawed electronic update to its system in May. Police spokesman Don Aaron said the majority of the lost video was recorded traffic stops and the department believes electronic evidence of some DUI arrests no longer exist. "We are pretty incensed," said police spokesman Don Aaron. The prosecutor's office says the loss could hurt cases. "Once we identify each case that has an associated video that has been lost, it definitely hurts the prosecution of the case," said Assistant District Attorney Kyle Anderson, head of the prosecutor's Vehicle Crimes Unit. "It's always problematic going forward when there was a piece of evidence that existed and it no longer does." Reached at her office in Lenexa, Kan., on Friday, Laura Owen, President and Chief Operating Officer of ICOP Digital, Inc., said the company's product wasn't at fault. "ICOP's software performed exactly as it was designed to do, given the settings that were applied by the Nashville police department," she said. Owen said the erasure came not from hard drives in the police cars, but when the data was downloaded to digital servers for storage. The original loss was close to 1,600 files, but some of the data has been recovered, Owen said. The remaining files are not retrievable. That was possible because of a "safe delete" feature of the software that allows deleted files to be recovered, based on the maximum number of days the user selects, Owen said. The department has used the$100,000 system for more than a year. It was purchased in late 2008 and has been installed in six cars used by the DUI squad, four cars used by the aggressive driving unit and two cars assigned to the fatal crash team. ___ Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

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