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The City of Plano Upgrades Their Television Technology

A case study on the Plano Police Department

Plano's Police Department uses the SnapStream TV appliance to record and monitor televised newscasts for mentions of their city and police department.

The Situation

The Plano Police Department (PPD) serves one of the largest suburbs of Dallas, Texas. In this thriving community of more than a quarter million people, it is common for the Police Department to be the subject of local TV news coverage; officers and employees are constantly referenced and interviewed on local television. Like many other large police departments, Plano operates a public information newsroom for the purpose of documenting, analyzing and archiving these appearances.

Until recently, the Plano Police Department used six televisions, each hooked up to a DVD recorder, where three officers in the public information newsroom would take turns manually setting up and recording the six local channels at 7:00 am, 12:00 noon, and 10:00 pm. These recordings would then be reviewed minute by minute by the Public Information Officers (PIOs). They would be looking for key mentions of and references to the Plano Police Department.

The Plano Police Department was recording upwards of 21 hours a week or 1, 092 hours a year. Hitting all the major news broadcasts became a tedious process, as the DVD recorders were limited in capacity and the recorded content had to be downloaded and burned to a DVD to free up space for the next round of recordings each day. The entire process of scheduling, downloading, searching, and archiving recordings was labor intensive and costly.  

The Solution

The demanding upkeep of the Plano Police Department’s DVD recording approach led them to look for a simpler solution. That’s when they found SnapStream’s television search appliance. “The set up was simple. I actually hooked this thing up myself, and had it up and running within an hour,” said Rick McDonald, PIO for the PPD.

The installation of SnapStream in the Public Information Newsroom has simplified the television recording and monitoring process for the PPD. The scheduling of recordings is now a one time task and the disk space of the SnapStream appliance stores up to 2,300 hours of recordings, twice the amount of Plano’s PD previously needed. The manual labor of searching through recordings has been dramatically reduced with SnapStream’s powerful TV search technology. The Public Information Officers can quickly input search phrases and instantly get results instead of spending countless hours looking for mentions of the PPD in news segments. Once the result is pulled up, it can be clipped, giving the PIO the ability to archive only relevant segments of newscasts. In addition, SnapStream Enterprise TV Link Client allow users on the same LAN to remotely access the Enterprise appliance, giving them too the ability to schedule, search, and clip recordings. Rick McDonald was excited about this feature and states, “We have an officer, in different office completely across town, which can access the Enterprise TV appliance for recorded content without having to come in to my office.”

The Results

Stress, time and money have been saved since the Plano Police Department switched to SnapStream’s Enterprise appliance. The added benefits include:

Reduction in Labor/Man Power: Before the PPD was recording, watching, and archiving news casts onto DVDs manually. Now they can digitally schedule, search, and clip recordings.

Increased Search Technology: Manually searching through recordings was a tedious and time consuming process. The powerful search technology the Enterprise appliance offers allows for instant search results cutting down on time and labor.

Digital Archiving: Instead of storing banks of DVDs, SnapStream’s clipping feature allows the Plano PD to create a central electronic library to digitally store and access recordings.

Availability of City-Wide Access: Being able to consolidate search results with offices across town was a constant hassle. SnapStream Enterprise TV Link Client allows for departments to share information on the same LAN.

The Plano Police Department’s SnapStream appliance has allowed them to record, search and clip television mentions in a more efficient matter, allowing them to put their finger on the pulse of television.

About the Plano Police Department

Since its formation in 1957, the Plano Police Department has emphasized professionalism, integrity, and progress in providing traditional law enforcement services to our growing community, as well as innovative approaches to community issues. They are the largest law enforcement agency in the northern Dallas metropolitan area and are nationally known for its highly trained officers, outstanding salaries and benefits, and first-class equipment. The Plano Police Department has been a nationally accredited law enforcement agency since 1992.


Figure 1: The PPD's previous recording setup included all of the shown TVs hooked up to DVR recorders.

Figure 2: PPD's SnapStream Enterprise TV appliance.

Figure 3: Scheduling recordings.

Figure 4: Scanning search results.