During 2020 there was quite a bit of attention on Law Enforcement and Equity.
Starting with the George Floyd tragedy in Minneapolis, there were a string of protests and riots that erupted due to the display of equity disparities and their impact on society.
One of the things that can be done to address this is by incorporating advanced monitoring technology for the protection of both the people law enforcement interacts with and the officers themselves.
Brandon Walcott (Brandon Walcott | LinkedIn) works for GeTac video solutions to fill this gap and help bring equity to Law Enforcement through Technology.
Welcome to the terminal value Podcast where each episode provides in depth insight about the long term value of companies and ideas in our current world. Your host for this podcast is Doug Utberg, the founder and principal consultant for Business of Life, LLC.
Doug: Okay welcome to the terminal value podcast. I have Brandon Walcott with me today and Brandon has the auspicious honor of having been an intern that I brought on board back when I was at Intel in 2016. And depending on when you're listening to this that may seem like a really long time ago or maybe or it may not and incidentally he was actually referred to me by his grandfather when I was working with my wife doing a fundraising auction for our kids school. But Brandon's actually a really clever guy. He's been an entrepreneur since he was what probably about 10 or so doing something or another and what he's actually doing right now is in the technology business specifically for law enforcement. And I thought that bringing technology using technology to help bring transparency to law enforcement especially with all of the stuff that's been going on between the you know between of course the unfortunate incidents with a number of people who've been involved in some of these officer incidents. And you know the riots and all of that kind of stuff Brandon I'd love give everybody an intro and tell us a little more about what your company does and how you're really helping to bring that transparency into the law enforcement sector.
Brandon: Yeah thanks so much Doug and yeah when you look back on it 2016 that's five years ago now it's pretty wild.
Doug: I know.
Brandon: To think of the journey since then and how much I think we both have grown which is pretty exciting. But yeah so, so my background before I get to gtac video solutions is the company I work for right now, like Doug said I've always been interested in technology and very young age entrepreneurship. At the age of 15 I had a choice: do I want to mow my neighbor's lawn for five bucks or fix their computer for 50 bucks. One of those involved getting really sweaty and taking hours and hours and the other took me 15-20 minutes and I got paid a whole lot more. And so I kind of turned that opportunity into a business and then morph that into an msp where I work with a number of businesses in the Portland Oregon area and allowed them to enable technology to further their business and then increase their value propositions through the integration of various technological means. And then I went to college and joined Doug as an intern at intel which gained a lot of great experience but I quickly learned that I did not thrive in a corporate setting where I was just a little worker bee right. And so I actually kept on my msp chops and my entrepreneurship and then I decided I wanted something more than working 10 to 12 hours a day, supporting 500 customers just my little lonesome. And so i decided to turn that passion for technology into the new forefront of the time in 2018 or so, which was cyber security and so I joined .
Doug: And I'm just going to stop Brandon for a second. So there's a couple of fun corollaries that he didn't mention. So number one is that grand Brandon grew up in the town of Gresham Oregon which incidentally is also where I’m from. He went to highschool at Barlow High School which incidentally is also where I went to high school at and he got his undergrad from George Fox University which is just down the road from where I live right now and is the school that I also earned my MBA from. So.
Doug: We have this weird interconnection of circles.
Brandon: Some may call it destiny.
Doug: Yeah, exactly but yeah so that's outstanding. I mean just you know what are some of the things you really see kind of emerging as far as how technology can really help I think law enforcement. I think you know both do a better job and but also to I think be more accountable and transparent because I think that's sort of the dichotomy that just kind of seems to be coming up. It's like okay you either catch bad guys or you have community-based policing but you can't do both. It's like, well I'm pretty sure that if you have to pick one you're you've got to find a way to do both.
Doug: Because otherwise it's it you you either a or b doesn't put us in a great situation.
Brandon: Exactly. Yeah and when you talk about first responders and law enforcement community in particular there's a lot of preconceived notions. There's a lot of legacy thoughts associated with it and when I go into police departments it's, it's usually somewhere on a spectrum of highly technologically advanced and very community driven, very policy oriented where they have a lot of policies and procedures in place to serve the community.
Brandon: To their disabilities which I would say is a more advanced spectrum on that. And then also we go into a lot of police departments in an area where technological advancements may not have been as prevalent and they are still going with a more old-school approach with less technology. But unfortunately in our nation right now in the world at large the law enforcement community has been painted in a bad light.
Brandon: For a variety of factors but the end result is there is a highly increased demand for transparency within the community. And so what our company provides is body-worn cameras in-car video solutions and interview room solutions. All integrated in a single cloud-based platform or on-premise where the customer basically purchases our product stack and all the hardware software support is included and we can just roll out video technology within a matter of months within a single turnkey solution. And my role as part of this organization is the solutions architect. So I work with the sales team, as well as our engineering team and the clients to architect a solution to their exact needs and work within their budgetary constraints. And so by the end goal after we've had a conversation with the customer the end goal is to get them with as many video sources as they need whether that's on their officers in their patrol cars. We have 360 degree options, some that are inside some on the light bars, some may be in a holding cell or an interview room. So essentially you could tag for example a DUI stop. You could have somebody who's swerving on the road calling from an England one the officer pulls them over. They can see that on their dash camera and then they get the the interview with conducting a field sobriety test and their body camera is capturing that all with crystal clear audio and high definition video. They get them in the back of their squad car which has a video and then they book them back and do the breathalyzer there. The BAC test blood alcohol content and then they're in their holding cell and our technology enables a seamless transition of all of those different video feeds. So when it goes to a trial instead of a lengthy trial he said she said well now it's just here's the facts. Here's what happened, your honor and let's move this through the prosecution of defense on the process.
Doug: Well and I was going to say the the process nerd part of my brain is coming out now too because I'm thinking that okay well if you have this degree of documentation what you can do is you can actually put a lean six sigma process in place. And you know start tracking your process excursions because of course that you know that's a you know kind of i think a sub segment of. You know the big problem is that you know law enforcement gets painted with a bad brush but 95 percent of police officers are fantastic people who do amazing work. But the thing is that if you don't really have a way of proving that then it ends up just becoming stuff people say and then you know and then of course everybody gets painted in the okay well you're either pro-police or anti-police. I'm like, I'm not well I'm pro police sure because I want there to be police. I'm not pro-bad police but I'm also pro-people and pro-civil liberties. You shouldn't have to choose between the two.
Brandon: Exactly. Yeah you should not have to choose between the two. And that's what's so great about video technology is it enhances an officer's perspective and allows them a true frame by frame audio snippet by audio snippet source of the entire event as it was unfolding and we'd love more perspectives for officers so if there's five officers responding five video cameras in their vehicle if there's a front and back feed. Now we have almost 20 plus video feeds of one particular incident which from a perspective of reviewing exactly what happened. That's awesome.
Brandon: But then you talk about the tech implementations. We're talking 20 hour long videos high definition with high fidelity audio. Where's all that data gonna go right.
Brandon: And now we talk about the strength of the integrated platform right. It's one thing to just put a GoPro on everybody's helmet. That's great but then what happens when those memory cards get lost right. The batteries start going where's the accountability. Unfortunately we've heard a lot of news stories of officers which have turned their body cameras on at a time that really wasn't supposed to be capturing what was going on in their mind. And unfortunately like you said 95 are great and this video technology enhances those 95 and.
Brandon: The 5 that really are doing potentially nefarious acts. It really allows to have the community have transparency in that and provide validation. What's cool about our solution is that you can't tamper with the videos at all. Because once you capture a video even a five second snippet that's evidence admissible in court. No point can you.
Doug: Yeah I would imagine you'd probably do some kind of like 5g data transfer to the cloud and then because then if it's all secure or transferred up in real time or near time. Then I think yeah then what'll happen is because it's like you said anytime you have something that's saved on a memory card. There's that manual transfer risk where it could get lost or get tampered or you know I don't want to put nefarious motives on people but you know it could just get lost or mistaken or something like that and yeah. If you have something that's location tag that say that's officer tagged transferred to the cloud now it's you know now it you know it there's that the less people touch something I think the higher confidence you'll be able to have in the data.
Brandon: Precisely and there's a chain of custody and audit logs and total. Basically a history of exactly what's happening with that asset and between correlating gps information time date. There were types of triggers if it was with their light bar. We're working on a weapon holster release. There's a lot of factors that can affect when that video is recorded but our goal is to push it from the edge nodes which is the body-worn cameras for the physical devices. It's an iot device into the cloud or the physical server itself as quickly as possible. But in foregoing the kind of hardware and software and the impact that it has in our communities which is absolutely tremendous. We have seen great community response. When officers have a body-worn camera in particular with a blinking red light and they're conducting the interview generally it actually changes the psychological demeanor of the officer conducting the interview as well as the potential perpetrator that is a subject in that video. And so it really allows them to find their PS and cues call out what you want.
Brandon: But it allows them to basically give an accurate account because there is no he said she said.
Brandon: There is no, no fighting of verbiage right. It is this is what happened it can be easily and our tool actually automates it into a transcription so you can easily search back if you don't need a support stenographer to go through every single video right for hours and hours. which is awesome.
Doug: And yeah and I was gonna say because especially if you have that good audio yeah that's where you can start getting the audio trend. You can get the auto transcription which is you know getting pretty accurate and I think yeah the big thing is that it's going to present a lot you know protect a lot of the parties because of course you know the the problem that's emerged in a lot of cases is that anytime you have a lot of ambiguity then it gets into lawyers unions and things like that. And so you know you'll have a lot of cases that feel like they should be open and shut but you can put enough ambiguity in there to where you know. You can't necessarily get a clean call whereas I think that what this is gonna do is going to bring bring the information so that you can you know see so you can protect the officers who are following procedure and policy. And but then you can also bring enough so that you know when there are people who aren't following procedures that they can be disciplined appropriately.
Brandon: Yeah and that's a great great concept on the discipline side. I like to think of it with iterative learning right. I don't necessarily see it as this one. I think it's important.
Doug: Because yeah 99 of the time it won't be you know like it won't be like a termination discipline but like but you know like one of the things that you know a very standard practice. In both military and law enforcement operations is after action reviews and so you know in that case yeah like you know if you're going to have a stop. If you're going to be pulling somebody in one of the things that you're going to and you have the whole thing video now what you can do is now you can do a review to be able to say okay you know our procedure is being followed or are there conflicting procedures and so I think that you know you this is where you can really use some of that technology to implement kind of the learning organization ideas. You take some of the stuff out of the you know out of the university ivory tower and kind of bring it into the real world.
Brandon: Absolutely and as I said before it's a spectrum of law enforcement.
Brandon: Those that are generally more advanced than the policies, procedures and technology. They use the videos of corrective action for officers as a learning opportunity and they learn from it. They don't just say this terrible thing happened and we're just going to fire everybody involved and then just sweep it under the rug right. You can't do that if you want to thrive as an organization especially if you're publicly funded because law enforcement is funded by tax dollars in the community right. And so it's very important to keep the law enforcement communities responsible to the communities they serve. Go figure right which is really really an interesting thought to think that well they're actually serving you. Which a lot of times you talk to an officer and they really hate the line when they pull somebody over and the guy says well. I pay your salary not exactly accurate but there is an element of truth too.
Brandon: Yeah so Doug I'm happy to kind of explore some of the cost considerations.
Brandon: When it comes to video technology if you'd like.
Doug: Yeah, but I.
Brandon: So the legacy system right.
Brandon: Let's use the example of a dui stop right. Let's say we conducted the dui stock with no video technology. This is like 30 or 40 years ago before they were putting DVRS and VHS's and squad cars with wireless mics right. It was basically your word against mine and you'd conduct. Then there was no breathalyzer right so you do a field sobriety test if they step their toe too many times over the line well you book them in the station and then you say well you're driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence dui right. And then from there it would go to court and the judge would agree. Yes, you were intoxicated or no you weren't uh there were blood tests to tell for blood alcohol content and so forth at a certain stage. But it was kind of an honor system for the most part. But fast forward now 2020, 2021 here we are. A lot of states and judges and juries will not accept the dui for example without video evidence. Because the honor system unfortunately is just not seen as adequate accountability.
Brandon: Within communities in at large right. And so now, with video technology you're allowing a basic case to go from incident to corrective action or response put him in a jail cell. Usually let him sleep it off and then to the actual trial itself to determine what kind of judgment is contained. That process is now dramatically accelerated and then you get into much more complex incidences. In the unfortunate event that it's an ois which is an officer-involved shooting. If there's no video of it it's well who fired first right. You've got the neighbor who was down to sleep at 2 a.m. I heard seven shots and then the neighbor across the street. I heard 12 and then the somebody in the back room right. It's like nobody really knows what's going on and so if you can have a video perspective that's exactly what happened you basically eliminate the dramatically eliminate the personnel required, the judicial oversight required. The individuals involved, the legal teams involved, to basically make that case and as black and white as possible. In law enforcement it's a lot of gray area and you have to use judgment on how to assess the situation because unfortunately every time that our brave men and women the law enforcement communities go out there they're putting their lives on the line.
Brandon: The community they serve is usually trying to get them which is really unfortunate. But it's reality. And so the more we can arm our officers with accountability tools like video technology it allows them to focus on the highest and best use of their job which is serving their community without having to worry about the considerations of various factors beyond their control all.
Doug: Right awesome. Well hey so Brandon give us a if somebody's in for people who are interested in learning more where can they go?
Brandon: Yeah so they can find me on LinkedIn Brandon Walcott or you can search gtac video solutions. You can just go to gtacvideo.com but if you want to reach me directly LinkedIn is the best place to reach me just send me a message on there and I'm happy to provide some more information.
Doug: Good deal. Well hey appreciate your time Brandon and thanks for filling us in. That's okay even you know I'm a technology advocate well sort of technology advocate in some places. I still think social media is destructive to humanity but I agree. But yeah thank you for your time Brandon.
Brandon: Thanks Doug have a good one.
Doug: Okay so following up on that conversation with Brandon. One of the things that I really took out of it and that I'm actually really excited about is the availability of lower cost technology to help remove some of the ambiguity from situations like law enforcement. I think that's actually a really important part of equity which is something that I think even if you're the most ardent libertarian market-minded person which I consider myself to be. You still really have to pay attention because if your equity gap starts getting too large and you end up having too big of a gulf of differentiation and how different cohorts of people are treated or how you know how enforcement happens. That's when you have riots and I think that's a lot of what we've seen in 2020 is that there's a lot of people who feel disenfranchised. You know now just being completely honest. I don't see how you can or should condone violence and property destruction regardless of what you feel disenfranchised about. But nonetheless, when people get pushed far enough they you know they react in very destructive ways and they lash out in very destructive ways. And so but I really like that there are companies who are really actively working to help mitigate that. And one of the things that I do of course is a part of my business is that I Help companies to you know continue furthering their mission particularly social mission companies and nonprofits and educational institutions. I would love to talk with you about any companies you know who may be able to use some help in reducing their overhead expenses or if there's a company you're associated with or a non-profit you're associated with I would love to help them as well. Please connect with me at www.meatdog.biz so we can talk I'm looking forward to connecting and I hope you have a wonderful day.
Thank you for listening to the terminal value podcast. Share it with your friends by sending them to terminalvaluepodcast.com for more information please visit businessoflifellc.com for full access to Doug's products and services.
All rights reserved. No part of this broadcast may be produced in any form by any means without written permission from Business of Life LLC.
All trademarks and brands referred to herein are the property of their respective owners.