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As statewide network gets overloaded with body cam data, Mass. DAs want better tech

As more police departments adopt officer-worn cameras and body cam footage becomes a more regular piece of evidence in court cases, district attorneys are finding that their statewide network that handles the footage is overloaded, leading to technology problems for prosecutors across Massachusetts.

Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni told lawmakers on the Joint Committee on Ways and Means on Tuesday that the uploading, downloading, viewing and streaming of body camera footage "has caused an incredible strain on our statewide network such that any one office can slow down the entire network for the other 10 district attorney's offices and the Mass. DA's Association."

"This means, for example, a prosecutor downloading and reviewing body camera footage in Springfield can cause staff in Boston and across the state to have non-responsive email and an inability to access our case management system or web-based products," he said during a hearing on Gov. Maura Healey's proposed fiscal 2024 budget. "So our system is stretched so thin because of the increased usage that one individual or one task can really have ripple effects across the commonwealth of Massachusetts. It's, for instance, causing folks not be able to access email. So given the work that we deal with, that's quite frankly a public safety issue."

On behalf of the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association (MDAA), which he said is the technology hub for the 11 district attorney's offices in Massachusetts, Gulluni asked legislators to support a request for $500,000 to upgrade the connection speeds at 20 of the "main and largest" DA's office locations across the state and another $400,000 to upgrade the Mass. DA's Association's uplink to the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS). He said the requests were "symbiotic."

"We need them both to make any difference at all," Gulluni said. "It's sort of unfortunate because it's a considerable amount of money. But the fact is, we can improve the connections in the data on the ground, but if we don't improve that connection to EOTSS from MDAA, as I mentioned, it will bottleneck. So the two things, the two upgrades, sort of run together."

State officials said early last year that 10% of municipal police departments in Massachusetts have a body-worn camera program in operation, and a survey conducted by the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association found that 75 percent of departments in both major cities and smaller towns were interested in starting a program.


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