Hartford Police make smart city changes with video technology

“I can say with 100% conviction that BriefCam lets us search and find evidence we could not have found before. We use this system at least twice a day, around 700 or 800 times a year.”

Sgt. Johnmichael O’Hare
Hartford Police Department


The Hartford Police Department has a sweeping and difficult challenge that is common to all cities and towns. It must protect the city’s approximately 125,000 residents and myriad businesses while it develops strategies to decrease crime. However, the Hartford PD sees their role as more than just protecting Hartford residents, the HPD is striving to revitalize the city and drive economic growth by making Hartford into a city that draws visitors and new businesses.

To further these goals, HPD created the Real Time Crime Center that includes a wireless FluidMesh system enabling the HPD video surveillance cameras to be placed almost anywhere city-wide. Deploying a surveillance system of this size would generally require 30 new officers to review and react to the footage in a timely manner. The Hartford PD needed a solution that would enable it to quickly review and search massive volumes of video, and transform it into a source of actionable intelligence  BriefCam® was chosen to solve this challenge.


HPD uses BriefCam to streamline operations in numerous ways, from tracking and identifying suspects to proactive crime prevention.

By using the heat map surveillance feature to identify crime hot spots for example, Officers track activity levels and create strategic action plans in suspected drug distribution areas.  Prior to BriefCam, an undercover detective would sleep outside a suspected drug house or distribution spot. Now, covert cameras are discreetly mounted and using BriefCam’s Deep Learning and Synopsis® technology a detective can search hours of video within minutes and rapidly confirm whether drugs are being distributed from this location. The Hartford PD can now surveil six to ten locations using the same detective hours it previously required for a single stakeout. In cases where HPD does not have any cameras at a particular location, BriefCam can also quickly load and analyze external video from other sources to support the investigation.


The Hartford PD is using BriefCam to solve crimes it could never have solved before.

After a fatal shooting at a nightclub, the only lead was witness descriptions of the suspect and the vehicle. With BriefCam, the HPD searched days of video prior to the incident to identify similar vehicles, and then zoom in to see the driver’s face. They matched the suspect and the vehicle, using video that was taken at a red light hours before the crime. Based on this information, the HPD was able to get a search warrant, swab the suspect for DNA, and confirm a DNA match to evidence from the crime scene. Without the ability to rapidly search days of footage from multiple nearby cameras, this suspect might not have been caught.


BriefCam’s partnership with major VMS companies creates seamless integrations that save time. When HPD searches and bookmarks events in BriefCam, the bookmarks are automatically transferred to their Milestone VMS. With one click, the Hartford PD can view the same bookmarked spot in the Milestone VMS and prepare evidence for court.

This simple interaction eliminates the need to upload and download information between BriefCam and the VMS, and makes the police force more productive.


The Hartford PD sees incredible potential for how BriefCam can revitalize a city by harnessing the power of video for smart, proactive planning. “Video is the ultimate underutilized asset,” O’Hare stated. “With BriefCam we can search for people and objects using specific criteria. It reduces what used to be hours of manual search down to just minutes. It helps us catch more criminals faster than ever before. But it’s about more than reducing crime; it’s about planning pedestrian and bike pathways to increase safety, and tracking traffic patterns to find the best locations for events, restaurants and retail stores. BriefCam is helping us combine security with a smart approach to city planning. It’s driving change so visitors don’t go to an event in Hartford and leave. They stay, have dinner, spend money and revitalize the city.”

For more information, view a Fox 61 news story on how BriefCam helped the Hartford Police Department catch a suspected child predator.

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