Seattle Police Cameras – The records are in but are they complete?

Right on schedule, my public records request for info on the Wireless Mesh Network is back. What I’ve seen so far is alarming. I found 36 cameras ordered, with network capacity and infrastructure for over 180. Even better, the camera has a face detection function which, per the manual: “detects the position of human face and the information is sent by XML or video stream.”

My response included all documents received by Phil Mocek’s request via MuckRock so I’ll be linking to the copies of the documents they have posted. (I also received a copy of their request, so far that is the only difference I’ve spotted.)

How did I get the number of cameras? First, take a look at the Camera Data Sheet page 2. This document notes that the camera supports bitrate settings of 64-8192Kbps. Now take a look at the Installation contract page 65. You’ll note that even after 6 hops, the network supports 185.5Mbps of throughput. On page 26, you will note there are 9 interconnects for the core of this network. Based on the limited map data, it is unlikely that any node is more than 6 hops from a fiber interconnect. This means the network has a total aggregate bandwidth capacity of 185.5*9 Mbps. Even if the Police Department cranked the cameras up to maximum quality mode, the network has enough capacity for 208 cameras. Based on what I’ve heard about the configuration, there is capacity for closer to 1700 cameras.

If you look through the documents posted on MuckRock, you might notice there isn’t any detail on the actual configuration of the network. If you take a look at page 27-28 of the contract with the vendor Cascade Networks, you’ll note that quite a bit of information is missing including “Complete As-Built Drawings” and “Complete listing of equipment installed by location including… All other configuration settings”. I’ll be appealing my public records request due to these missing documents. They may hold key information on the capacity, locations, and intent of this network.

[UPDATE: The West Seattle Blog also has a story on the released documents.]

Here is the actual response received:

RE: Public Disclosure Request # P2013-444

Dear Mr. Andrew Pilloud,

This letter is in response to your public disclosure request dated February 10, 2013 and received by the Seattle Police Department’s Public Disclosure Unit on February 11, 2013 for maps, purchase orders, maintenance contracts, technical specifications, usage policies, access procedures, data retention policies, installation instructions, device configurations, interconnect details, and other public records requests for the wireless mesh network installed in the second half of 2012.

Due to the size of the attachments – multiple emails will follow with the requested information.

Requested information is attached – which most of this information can also be found on-line at:… .

A search of our records indicate no hardcopy responsive records for the following: technical specifications, installation instructions

However they can be found online at the following addresses:

• Cameras:…

• and two (2) of these cameras:…

• Three (3) Voyager II cameras for Harbor Patrol boats:

• Wireless access points:…

• Video management software:

SPD does not have final copies of usage polices, data access procedures or data retention policies.

One other request for this information has been received and a copy of the email request is attached.

You may file a written appeal with the Chief of Police within ten (10) business days from the date of this letter. Please include your name and address and a copy of this letter together with a brief statement identifying the basis of the appeal. Please mail or deliver your appeal to:

Chief of Police

Seattle Police Department

PO Box 34986

Seattle, WA 98124-4986

This concludes the Seattle Police Department’s response to your request.

If you have any questions, please contact the Public Disclosure Desk at 206-684-5481.


John Diaz

Chief of Police

Bonnie Voegele

Records Manager