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3ware RAID controllers used for digital evidence protection

AMCC : 08 April, 2009  (Application Story)
Tucson police have taken delivery of advanced data storage facilities from AMCC for the storage and protection of digital evidence including captured fingerprints and photographic material
Applied Micro Circuits Corporation has announced its 3ware 9650 SE serial RAID controllers are now driving performance and protection of digital evidence at the Tucson Police Department. The controllers are installed in Linear Systems' Digital Information Management System (DIMS) Enterprise ImageServer, a centralized repository for downloaded digital evidence.

The Tucson Police Department ID Unit is in charge of storing, managing and distributing photos, fingerprints and any other digital evidence. The ID Unit moved from film-based cameras to digital two years ago and now has over 500 cameras in the hands of law enforcement officers, as well as crime scene investigators. "The pace of capturing and sharing digital evidence has increased exponentially," said John Neeley, superintendent for the ID Section of the Tucson Police Department Crime Scene Unit. "Our move to digital means that we can now arm law enforcement with cameras, allowing officers to take crime scene photos when necessary."

With so many digital cameras in use, management and protection of the collected evidence is one of the largest priorities for Neeley and his team. "With far more of us out in the field capturing digital evidence, we're improving the entire evidence collection process," said Neeley. "With this benefit, however, comes the need to control who has access to those images. We must protect the chain of custody." Neeley turned to Digital Information Management System (DIMS) manufactured by Linear Systems. The department utilizes 17 download stations throughout the city, allowing officers to quickly download images and enter them into the system. The information is managed by a server array and accessible through a secure browser.

"The system deployed by the Tucson Crime Scene Unit fully protects the chain of custody of their digital evidence," said Chris Parsons, CEO of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. based Linear Systems. "We helped Neeley customize the system based upon their policies and procedures. Police officers, detectives, CSIs or technicians who download photos or videos into the system have access to information, depending on their assigned rights. The DIMS system not only assigns rights but acts as a centralized repository and ensures the chain of custody by tracking access to each file and the tasks that were performed."

Neeley, who has been with the department for almost 30 years, smiles when asked about his capacity needs since the move to digital. "The program has been so successful that we've needed to increase capacity a year sooner than we planned. I recently upgraded the 3ware controllers and added capacity." Their Linear Systems DIMS now offers capacities ranging from 4TB to 96TB. AMCC's 3ware SATA controllers are highly scalable.

"The DIMS has been central to making our move to digital a success," said Neeley. "I did not want to go digital until I knew that we had the server and storage resources in place. We are required to maintain digital evidence until the case is closed or in perpetuity for cases such as homicide and some rapes and robberies. The 3ware controllers do what they're supposed to do - protect our data while aiding in performance."

"We chose the 3ware 9650SE for our DIMS because of its high performance, ease of use and reliability," said Parsons. "The SATA controllers are highly scalable which was critical in the recent capacity upgrade. We have 3ware controllers installed in Linear Systems' DIMS solutions in law enforcement units throughout the country."

"Law enforcement agencies need high performance data protection that provides access controls in order to protect digital evidence and maintain the chain of custody," said Russ Johnson, senior vice president and general manager for AMCC's Storage Business Unit. "We're excited to be a part of Linear Systems' DIMS solutions and the company's very successful efforts in helping law enforcement to be more effective."

The 3ware 96050SE SATA II controller family, as well as AMCC's 3ware 9690SA SAS controller line, is available in a variety of port configurations through AMCC's worldwide network of distributors, integrators and VARs. The DIMS, along with its broad line of information management solutions for digital evidence and chain of custody, are available through Linear Systems.
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