The Columbus Division of Police is scrambling to bring approximately 100,000 videos from police cruisers back after they were reportedly deleted by accident.
The Columbus Police Technical Services Bureau reported on March 13 that around 100,000 videos from as far back as 2015 were deleted from their system during an administrative action. According to Police Chief Kim Jacobs, the department changed the way they filed and classified cruiser cameras at the end of 2015.
Jacobs stated that one of the veteran officers in the Police Technical Services Bureau was reportedly working to change older video’s classifications in the system in order to fit with the new classifications.
“Instead of transferring over to the new system, the settings defaulted to a 90-day retention schedule and because most of them were from 2015, they automatically purged to that 90-day retention schedule,” Jacobs said.
Recent attempts to recover the lost files have not been successful, but officials continue their work to find the lost videos. Jacobs said that the videos relating to criminal cases generally get copied within a few weeks, and believes that there will be minimal impact on future or current criminal cases.
In order to prevent this issue from coming up again in the future, Jacobs said that they are starting to develop warnings and system safeguards to stop accidental mass deletions.
“We don’t believe that the system warns you, like my iPhone says ‘Before you do this, are you sure you want to do it?’ We don’t believe this system informed our employee that there was going to be the result from the change process that he was using,” Jacobs said.