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The drumbeat is getting louder for police officers to wear body cameras to improve operations and provide a transparent record of events. A recent Wall Street Journal article noted a presidential task force on policing recommended more body-worn cameras; Government Technology covered the Oakland Police Department having the largest deployment of police body cameras in the world. I’m pleased to see the media recognizing the importance of body-worn cameras for police officers. However, the real story is how the government cloud can now be used by the U.S. law enforcement community to store the massive amount of video recorded by body-worn and other police video systems.

This kind of information sharing is important in other areas of public safety as well. As an active-duty firefighter in suburban Chicago for the past 10 years, I’ve seen first-hand the importance of getting the right information into the hands of public safety officials. Whether it’s a fire department responding to a house fire or a police department handling an incident, timely information is the most valuable tool for addressing an emergency, protecting life and property, and ensuring transparency in the response.

Reimagining Law Enforcement and the Cloud. Get the whitepaper.It’s exciting to see law enforcement agencies and the broader public safety community tapping into the cloud in ways previously not possible before Microsoft Azure Government became the only cloud platform with a contractual commitment to uphold the FBI’s rigorous Criminal Justice Information Services Security Policy. State and local governments must comply with these requirements in order to obtain FBI data. Azure Government’s contractual support for the FBI’s Security Policy reflects Microsoft’s commitment to helping government customers leverage the cloud while staying compliant with critical public sector security, privacy and compliance requirements.

Just last month, Microsoft contractually committed with the California Department of Justice that Azure Government would support the CJIS Security Policy. California now joins the states of Texas, Michigan and Kansas with signed CJIS agreements with Microsoft to support Azure Government for law enforcement agencies in their states. One factor that’s important to these states and their law enforcement agencies is that Microsoft contractually commits to the same security standards that the FBI imposes on agencies. This deep commitment to meeting rigorous compliance requirements and government policies sets Microsoft apart from other cloud services providers.

Whether I’m responding to a fire in my community or working with state and local government customers to deploy innovative Microsoft CityNext solutions, it’s gratifying to finally see the U.S. public safety community use the power of the cloud – and even more satisfying to know that Microsoft is leading the way with the most comprehensive cloud platform for government.

Have a comment or opinion on this post? Let us know @Microsoft_Gov. Or email us at ongovernment@microsoft.com, You can also follow Microsoft CityNext on Twitter @MSFTCityNext.

Rick Zak
Director, Justice & Public Safety Solutions, Microsoft Corporation