ImpactWinter 2012

UIndy video lab aids in massive Canadian riot investigation

The University of Indianapolis has been at the center of one of the year’s hottest news stories—in Canada.

A disappointing loss by the Vancouver Canucks in June’s Stanley Cup finals sparked widespread rioting and looting in their home city, totaling millions of dollars in theft and damage. Under pressure to make arrests, the Vancouver Police Department’s Integrated Riot Investigation Team faced a dilemma: The best evidence against the perpetrators was the mountain of professional and amateur video shot during the incident, thousands of hours of footage that could have taken more than two years to analyze in the department’s own facilities.

What to do?

The investigators turned to the Digital Multimedia Evidence Processing Lab at UIndy, where the international Law Enforcement & Emergency Services Video Association, or LEVA, trains law enforcement and security professionals from around the world in the collection, process-ing, and court presentation of video evidence. This is the first time the one-of-a-kind lab, with its 20 high-powered and networked video workstations, has been used in an active criminal probe of this scope, said to be the largest in Canadian history.

“Given the unique nature of this facility, we knew from the start that it could be called into service when a special need arose,” said UIndy Executive Vice President and Provost Deborah W. Balogh. “The University is glad to help serve the public interest in this case.”

Nearly 50 forensic video experts representing 40 law enforcement agencies from the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom spent two weeks in late September and early October at the UIndy lab, established in 2007 in the Sease Wing of Krannert Memorial Library. The investigators also gave numerous interviews to local media and a visiting crew from Canada’s Global News.

“Most of the students at the University of Indianapolis have no idea that investigators from across the world have gathered in the basement of the University library to eventually bring Vancouver’s rioting hooligans to justice,” the network reported.

Working in two shifts each day, the analysts examined and processed more than 5,000 hours of video showing more than 15,000 criminal acts. As a result of the work done in Indianapolis, the investigators expect to pursue charges against several hundred individuals. On October 31, they announced their first round of 163 charges against 60 people.

the authorMarty