Brian Barrett, church operations manager at Bethel United Church of Christ, Elmhurst, Ill., demonstrates use of the access system at the church complex’s rear entrance. Above the card reader is the video intercom system.

An access control system that can be operated remotely helps a church provide entrance without its employees being on-site and also helped provide information about a break-in.

The Bethel United Church of Christ, Elmhurst, Ill., had a small stained glass window broken out and clothing for the homeless stolen in December 2005 one month after the new access system had been installed.

The record it provided of when people had last left the building and first arrived was valuable in establishing the time line of the event, reported Brian Barrett, church operations manager. “It showed all activity so you could narrow it down,” Barrett explained.

The clothing was abandoned and the burglar left through the church’s automatic egress doors, but a large footprint was discovered in the church to provide some clue to the culprit’s identity.

The remote entry control system at Bethel United Church of Christ, Elmhurst, Ill., helped provide information about a break-in. The front entrance to the right of the sign is one of three doors with the access system.
The remote access system replaces the “keys to the kingdom” used previously at the church — a standard lock and key management system.

“It was becoming increasingly difficult to track who had keys to the facilities,” Barrett notes. “Also, our doors are locked from the outside. If someone needed to have the doors opened for a meeting, our system required that there be another person on the other end to open the doors.”

Barrett began looking into access control solutions to help track usage, monitor door events and manage the system from a centralized location. “A church member highly recommended the system to help facilitate the ease of access,” he declared.

Barrett can access the system by computer or see who is on the intercom phone at the right.
Bethel houses administrative offices, a pre-school, and several meeting rooms used for special events and functions by groups at varying times of the day and night, Barrett points out. Hence, the remote access feature keeps on-site staffing needs at the church lower.

Initial Electronics, Alsip, Ill., was chosen to install the ACS 5000-E two-reader Ethernet-based control panel from Brivo Systems LLC, Bethesda, Md., for the main door, rear entrance and a supply room closet where the control is located.

Staff and meeting group leaders were assigned ProxCards and PIN numbers from HID Corp., Irvine, Calif., to access the building doors.

Additionally, the sanctuary doors were placed on door timers to eliminate the need for someone to open them physically.

“Web-hosted access control was key for their application because it allows them to control their doors from any Web-browser without having to come to the church,” explained Dan Cosgrove, Initial Electronics’ account executive.

The ACS system automatically aggregates all customer data and management controls into one centralized system. It eliminated the costly chore of building a wide area network to link databases.

Dan Cosgrove, account executive for Initial Electronics, Alsip, Ill., appears on the Aiphone intercom system’s screen at one of the church’s two entrances equipped with the system.
All IT maintenance and networking of the system is outsourced to Brivo, which eliminated expensive IT resources and networking infrastructure to maintain the system or link facilities. Brivo estimates the total cost of ownership of its system is up to 50 percent less than traditional non-networked systems.

A video intercom from Aiphone Corp., Bellevue, Wash., also was installed at the same time as the access system to verify the identity of those requesting access.

All in all, the new access and intercom systems have eased access for those entering and those allowing entrance.

Sidebar: On the Job

  • Brivo ACS 5000-E Two-reader Ethernet-based control panel:
  • Three HID Proximity with keypad readers:
  • Aiphone LEF-5 5-call master
  • Aiphone MYH-CU pan-tilt monitor
  • Aiphone MK-DAC door unit with black-and-white camera intercom system:

Sidebar: Projects in the news

  • BEST Monitoring Ltd., New York, has MESH systems booked for 16 separate high-rise buildings in New York. BEST Monitoring has been providing a remote monitoring service, Cyberdoorman, for apartment buildings since 2001. As of December 2005, the integrator has incorporated the MESH touch screen telephone entry panel from Viscount Systems Inc., Burnaby, British Columbia, as part of the service. Currently the MESH panel is contracted in 16 buildings throughout the five boroughs of New York.

  • The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport will upgrade its security system with the Pro-Watch security management software platform from Honeywell, Syosset, N.Y. The upgrade will include installation of new head-end, intelligent controllers and a DESFire contactless smart card identification badge system. Card readers, controllers, and circuit boards will work with the DESFire open standard contactless card technology that will prepare the airport for biometric storage and transfer capabilities. The contactless card system is engineered to encode biometric information, such as fingerprints and hand geometry data.

  • Adesta LLC, Omaha, Neb., will design, build and install electronic and physical security systems for two additional dams on the Missouri River for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Omaha District. The corps increased the scope of an original contract valued at $4.3 million to include security enhancements at these two dams, bringing the total number of dams that Adesta will secure on the Missouri River to six. This current project is valued at $1.9 million.