"Police in Keene, New Hampshire are using technology that's never been used before in New England, technology inspired by the Boston Marathon Bombing investigation. The technology, dubbed LEEDIR, or Large Emergency Event Digital Information Repository, allows citizens to easily upload pictures and videos to a central location that can be analyzed by law enforcement in the event of a terrorist attack or other major disaster."

~ FOX News Boston

LEEDIR Activation Report:
Pumpkin Festival Riots, Keene, NH

Keene, NH is a small town with a population around 23,000 and located 2 hours northwest of Boston, Massachusetts. Keene is home to Antioch University, New England with a student enrollment slightly over 1,000 and Keene State College with an undergraduate student roster of approximately 6,000.

Every Fall, Keene hosts a community event called the Keene Pumpkin Festival for area residents and visitors, which attracts crowds as large as 50,000 people. During Pumpkin Fest 2014 large parties held in the Winchester Street area, involving Keene State College students and visitors from several other colleges in the area, led to a series of riots. Large crowds surged into the streets and began throwing beer bottles and pumpkins. Police in riot gear responded to the off-campus neighborhoods. After dark, rioting became more intense with fires, flipped cars, and a general atmosphere of mayhem. The Keene PD was assisted by numerous other law enforcement agencies across the state (most notably New Hampshire State Police).

The Keene Police Department activated LEEDIR in order to collect eyewitiness media to assist them in identifying those responsible for the signifcant amount of property damage and other crimes committed during the rioting. Hundreds of valuable submissions poured in, which provided the information necessary to make 25 additional arrests.

Interview with Detective Joel Chidester, Keene PD

We recently spoke with Police Detective Joel Chidester, Bureau of Criminal Investigations with the Keene Police Department about his experience with the LEEDIR platform to assist following the riots that happened during the city’s annual Pumpkin Festival in late October of this year.

Q: How did you learn about LEEDIR?
A: I was not aware that a solution like LEEDIR existed at the time of our emergency event. I received a call from John Powell, Detective Sergeant (Retired) Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, who let me know that the service was offered to LE and Emergency agencies for free during large scale criminal or emergency events. I was intrigued so I immediately logged into a brief one-on-one training webinar that got me up to speed on how LEEDIR worked and how it may be able to help us collect, organize and store the volumes of photo and video information taken on-scene.

Q: How easy was it to activate LEEDIR?
A: That is the brilliance of this platform. I brought it to my commanding officer Detective Lieutenant James McLaughlin and he took it to Chief Kenneth Meola. They gave me the green light and the Keene PD was up and running on LEEDIR almost immediately. [Editor’s Note: Agencies can pre-register and attend a training webinar to be prepared ahead of an event and be able to immediately activate LEEDIR on-demand.]

Q: How did you promote LEEDIR to eyewitnesses in your community?
A: LEEDIR, and the request for witnesses to submit eyewitness multimedia evidence, was promoted through several press releases and on the Keene Police Department’s website. This information was also released directly to the Keene State College students by the Campus Safety Office.

Q: What functionality did you find most useful in the LEEDIR platform?
A: The most useful feature of the LEEDIR platform is its user friendliness and ease of implementation in the hectic hours following a major incident. This allows the platform to be used to capture recent evidence and generate fresh leads to support the investigation.

Q: How did having LEEDIR help the Keene PD?
A: Based on the evidence submitted from the hundreds of students and bystanders that had cell phones to take pictures and record incidents as they happened, having the LEEDIR program helped us make approximately 25 arrests.

Q: How were you able to use the photos and videos submitted in your investigation?
A: The photos and videos obtained by the LEEDIR platform for the Keene Police investigation were used to identify subjects seen committing criminal acts and also to link known suspects to specific criminal charges. As of this time, the Keene Police Department and assisting agencies have had a 100% conviction rate in the presiding court.

Q: Would you recommend LEEDIR to other LE/Emergency Agencies?
A: Absolutely, yes. I would recommend that every single law enforcement/emergency agency become LEEDIR registered, trained/certified, educate their community and have the ability to activate this free public service within seconds following a major event. I am extremely thankful that John reached out to help.