Tucson Police Department
September 27, 2018

Integrated Crisis Response with MESH Networks

Tucson Police Department Wireless IP Video Solution

The Scenario

A bank robbery in downtown Tucson has gone wrong and the suspects have taken customers and bank staff hostage, resulting in a stand-off with police. Commanders at headquarters deploy airborne assets, SWAT, and incident command vehicles to the scene.

The surveillance aircraft flying overhead is able to transmit live video images simultaneously to the Incident Command vehicle, tactical receive cases strategically positioned at the incident, and the Emergency Operations Center.

A hostage negotiator sends a throw-phone into the bank. A hidden camera system within the phone case provides personnel in the Hostage Negotiation vehicle a 360° view of the room and the suspects.

If necessary, the unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) stands ready to gather additional situational intelligence. The UGV video content is transmitted to the Bomb Squad vehicle for observation.

The Challenge

The video intelligence transmitted to each vehicle was not viewable by the other vehicles. To compensate, ground personnel would run hard cable interconnects between the vehicles in order to share video content. This type of deployment put responders at a disadvantage because all vehicles had to be parked in close proximity to each other, minimizing operational flexibility and requiring additional setup time.

The Solution

The Tucson Police Department operated this type of deployment for many years, but realized its restrictions. After reviewing the customer’s requirements for sharing tactical video and surveying each vehicle’s capabilities, Vislink designed and demonstrated a secure and scalable wireless mobile MESH network. The demonstrated solution, capable of delivering greater than 20 Mbps of IP connectivity between vehicles, also allowed each vehicle to act as a wireless access point.

By utilizing IP streaming, each mobile command vehicle is capable of viewing the video content originating from all other on-scene vehicles. This allows greater flexibility to position the vehicles in the most advantageous location for the situation.

Additionally, the secure Wi-Fi hotspots allow officers to connect handheld mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets and personal computers, to view any of the IP video streams.

The Technology

Vislink MESH/MIMO networks utilize advanced technologies to ensure seamless voice, video and data transmission. MESH networks are comprised of nodes spread out over a specific area, such as a city center or, in this case, on each vehicle. These nodes “talk” to each other, by sending and receiving data on the same frequency. An advanced algorithm determines the most efficient path for information to follow to get to its final destination. When a node goes offline, or a particular path has low bandwidth, the system automatically self-heals by rerouting the information to the next best path.

By combining MESH/MIMO solutions and advanced IP video encoding technology, Vislink was able to deploy a complete real-time video distribution system.

The Result

Implementing this type of closed MESH network solution provided Tucson’s on-scene personnel with the ability to view mission critical video content from multiple sources, in any vehicle or on connected devices, allowing for better decision making. The Vislink mobile MESH network solution is scalable as well as expandable into Tucson’s private network, utilizing additional fixed MESH nodes connected to wired network infrastructure or by deploying mobile satellite communication terminals.

“Vislink developed a MESH system that feeds video from several different sources to one central command location. This gives our commanders from SWAT, Hostage/Crisis, and Explosive Ordinance Disposal the ability to view video feeds from helicopters, robots, cars, cameras, and phones, and allows them to make more informed decisions.”

Sgt. Garry Arnold Air Support/Rapid Response Team, Tucson Police Department