A robust, well-designed security system should function reliably, providing users with the protection and features they need without having to think about it. If problems arise and users spend more time troubleshooting or working around the system, security can be compromised and the organization’s ability to function can be hindered. Nowhere is this more critical than in a prison environment, where safety and security of inmates and staff is paramount, as they rely on the system for nearly every aspect of daily operations, from security and movement of inmates to basic communication throughout the facility.
Butte County Jail is a correctional facility located in Oroville, Calif. that houses up to 614 inmates and is operated by a staff of 135. The existing security system at the jail was plagued with serious problems and would crash on a regular basis. “It wasn’t uncommon for me to come in at 2:00 or 3:00 AM,” said Mike Thompson, I.S. Analyst Senior/I.S.R. of the Butte County Sheriff’s office.
Poor audio quality over the intercoms made it difficult for staff and inmates to communicate, increasing the number of inmate complaints and the demands on staff. The video system’s limited recording time and poor image quality made enforcing rules and prosecuting offenses difficult. Correctional Lieutenant Jeff Hayes said the video quality was so bad that it was difficult to tell the staff from the inmates. As a result, it was not uncommon for staff to get locked in the housing units with the inmates, requiring other officers to come down with keys to get them out. Having staff carrying keys around a correctional facility creates a huge threat to safety and security.
Built in 1965 and expanded in 1994, the Butte County Jail currently holds approximately 600 inmates and operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. “That was one of the problems we had to overcome: how we would design a new system for a jail that is fully operational,” said Nick Carman, vice president of P2ABC Controls. The Exton, Pa.-based security integrator specializes in correctional facilities and has installed security systems at county, state, and federal detention centers across the country.
Maintaining security in a fully operational facility as one system is disconnected and the new one is brought online requires extra precautions. “That takes up a lot of time. We’re constantly doing tool checks when moving from area to area. It has a significant time impact,” said Carman. Simply moving inmates to their cells to allow technicians access to housing areas, can take 30-40 minutes. Careful scheduling and communication between the integrators and correctional staff is critical. “The sooner we get done, the easier it is on everyone,” said Lieutenant Hayes.
P2ABC Controls worked with the correctional staff to understand and address their needs from the beginning. Lieutenant Hayes was impressed with how the company managed the project, which was ultimately completed earlier than anticipated, “They would actually come in when we needed them to, to work with our schedule. They let us know well in advance. They are very good at what they do.”
Getting end users involved early also improved the design and user adoption of the new system. “We could write the program around how they operated instead of them operating around the system,” said Carman.
The new system features robust, high-quality, non-proprietary products that make it easy to maintain or upgrade. P2ABC Controls installed a redundant Allen-Bradley ControlLogix PLC system and a redundant, all-fiber-optic network backbone. A new user interface was added with the installation of six Elo 1939L 19-inch touch screens supported by Wonderware InTouch software by Invensys, plus a total of twenty Bosch 17-inch LCD Monitors for video surveillance. Nearly 100 vandal and shatter-resistant Bosch FlexiDome 2X Day/Night and FlexiDome XF cameras were installed throughout the facility, providing for continuous live surveillance with high quality video.
Eight 700 Series Bosch Hybrid Recorders, installed with the storage expansion kits, can support up to 16 camera channels and store two terabytes of data. The enhanced image quality and storage capacity, ranging from 30 to 90 days depending on the camera, has provided the correctional staff with better monitoring capability and increased ability to identify and prosecute offenders when incidents occur. “The morale of the jail has actually improved as well,” said Lieutenant Hayes, noting that with improved video, the staff members do not get locked out and inmates have an increased awareness of better surveillance and enforcement.
Communication has been significantly improved with the installation of 200 Harding Instrument DXL intercoms, including three MicroComm TMM-640 VoIP Touchscreen Master Modules located in the Charlie and Delta control towers and Central Control and MicroComm ICM-421 Intercom stations throughout the facility.
“The staff was astounded at how much better the audio was,” said Thompson. Lieutenant Hayes added that the improved audio reduced staff time and workload by minimizing the amount of time jail personnel have to devote to clarifying communications and to addressing and investigating grievances filed by inmates about problems resulting from the staff’s inability to respond quickly to inmates’ needs. Lieutenant Hayes affirmed that the new system was money well spent given the substantial time and cost savings in manpower.
Other advantages of the new system include the ability of Central Control to take over control remotely from the Charlie and Delta Towers in case of emergency. The network also provides for direct communication between control centers over the network without tying up radio channels or telephone lines.
“We haven’t had a single problem. The video quality is top notch,” said Thompson. “Not only is it stable, but it is a very good installation. It is very clean, very easy to troubleshoot. It has made my life easier.”
|PROJECTS in the News|
An evaluation by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) confirmed 100 percent video analytic accuracy of SightLogix’s SightSensor thermal camera system in the challenging environment typical of many airports. According to the TSA’s final report, the “evaluation team performed over 900 scenarios of which every alarm instance was accurately reported” on the SightLogix perimeter security system.
Buffalo airport officials also reported cost savings with the SightLogix video analytics solution based upon SightLogix’ longer range coverage, reducing the number of poles, trenching and communications. The use of Thermal SightSensors enables detection of intrusions even in complete darkness, removing the additional costs otherwise needed for illumination.
Additionally, the TSA reports that “SightSensor target tracking capabilities were available and 100 percent functional throughout the evaluation period.” Integrating the SightSensors into the existing video management system was “smooth and without issue,” the TSA reports.
The public version of the TSA report is available at http://www.tsa.gov/assets/pdf/foia/BuffaloNiagaraInternationalAirport
Law enforcement officials are fighting street crime and vandalism in a New England city using more than a dozen VB-C60 IP security PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) cameras from Canon. The cameras are part of an innovative 4.9 GHz public-safety surveillance system that was designed and installed by LCN, a division of E.G. Sawyer Co., Inc., a network integration company. Developed during the past six years, the system’s strategically located Canon VB-C60 IP security cameras provide high-quality video that is helping to make a difference in crime detection and prevention.
“The Canon VB-C60 cameras are positioned on intersections, streets, parking areas, and other places where illegal activity occurs,” explained Mike Lieb, president and founder of LCN, which is based in Weymouth, Mass.
Brivo Systems LLC, a provider of Software as a Service (SaaS) applications for security management, announced that Adelante Healthcare, a private non-profit located in Arizona, standardized on Brivo for access control management at its current and future health care and administration facilities. Adelante Healthcare currently operates seven health centers throughout Maricopa County, offering a wide array of services to patients of all economic backgrounds. Accel Communications is the integrator for this expanding installation.
Dyck Security Services lost T-1 phone service and POTS lines to its building due to an unforeseen accident. A truck had taken out AT&T service in the region. Martin VanConant, president of Dyck, noted the end result of this accident prompted the central station to make the decision to implement its disaster recovery (DR) plan with DICE Corporation for the first time.
“Not every disaster is planned for, nor is every central station able to rehearse its plans in action regularly, but it’s the peace of mind a DR plan can give with a step-by-step procedure in place from the start,” Clifford Dice, president and chief executive officer of DICE says. For Dyck, it was as simple as utilizing the Customer Location Alternate Routing (CLAR) that Dyck Security Services has in place with AT&T and the Type I Recovery plan with DICE. Dyck successfully rerouted calls for the receiver lines to direct to DICE phone numbers, and the central station lines were transferred to cell phones located in the Dyck Security central station, giving the operators the ability to stay put and man the alarms while waiting for their facility to be back up.
DICE Corporation, the automation partner for Dyck Security Services, communicated with Dyck through the DR plan process that was implemented for them in 2007 and revised again by Dyck back in June 2010. All and all, the end result was no issues on the change back from DR and AT&T CLAR to the Dyck Security’s central station.
Genetec, a provider of unified IP security solutions, announced that Calgary Transit, located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, installed Genetec’s Omnicast video surveillance system on its popular, highly-used light rail transit (LRT) system. Omnicast was installed as a stand-alone IP video surveillance system within the security center, and helps to ensure the safety of Calgary Transit’s 270,000 daily (weekday) LRT customers. The new system is comprised of 471 Panasonic megapixel NW502 IP cameras in addition to 23 Panasonic NW964 PTZ (pan tilt zoom) IP cameras. It is managed by Dell servers with distributed archiving throughout Calgary’s 38 LRT stations and centralized redundant archiving at the City Hall data center. Operators can monitor the security system at each station and video can be remotely viewed at the central location.Avigilon announced that the University of Sydney, Australia’s oldest university, deployed the Avigilon HD Surveillance System across its Camperdown/Darlington and Cumberland campuses with plans to expand across the entire 530 hectare property. The university deployed 100 Avigilon HD cameras ranging from 1 MP to 16 MP to provide coverage of its two main campuses, monitoring all entry and exit points, 24-hour learning areas such as computer labs and libraries, and much of the high-use open areas. The Avigilon HD surveillance system has played a key role in reducing crime by 25 percent year-over-year since 2009.
Brivo Systems LLC, announced that Sport Manitoba, located in downtown Winnipeg, installed Brivo ACS OnSite to manage access to its entire multi-use facility. Sport Manitoba is the lead planning, programming and funding agency for the development of amateur sport in Manitoba. National Industrial Communications Inc. was the project integrator.
Jeff Hnatiuk, president and CEO, Sport Manitoba, described the security challenges for the Sport for Life Centre, which houses Sport Manitoba’s operations. “We have 65 separate offices each representing a sport, the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, a Sport Medicine Centre, Sport Performance facility, as well as a conference center and meetings rooms. This is a unique facility and the security needs are also unique and challenging.”
The Brivo system enabled Sport Manitoba staff to set up different access schedules for the public areas on floors one and two and entirely different schedules for the offices located on floors three, four, and five. Sport Manitoba’s system controls access at 32 doors for 235 users, and is also integrated with the building’s two banks of elevators. “We really like the Web-based system,” said Hnatiuk.
Odyssey Technologies Inc., manufacturer of Remote Eyes® digital video management systems, announced that N&R Dining, a Virginia operator of 24 Burger King restaurants, successfully integrated Remote Eyes with its Sicom point of sale (POS) server to effectively manage its food costs by dramatically reducing the amount of food that is given away without proper payment. Remote Eyes supports multiple audio monitoring zones in the store locations so that off-site N&R Dining managers can listen to customer activity while reviewing POS transactions with video live and in real-time.
Genetec announced the American Institute of Business (AIB) in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, installed Omnicast video surveillance system to secure the 20-acre campus. AIB, founded in 1921 and the educational home of 900 undergraduate students, found itself in need of a new security solution when one component of the existing system failed. Convergint Technologies, a Genetec Certified Integrator, helped design and deploy an Omnicast installation to secure the campus’ 12 buildings. The completed system operates 32 fixed cameras including models from Axis Communications and Pelco, which provide full coverage of doorways, parking lots, dormitories and outlying buildings, as well as any location involved in the exchange of currency (e.g., cash registers). The Omnicast system was also integrated with Aiphone intercoms to allow building occupants to view and communicate with a potential visitor before permitting access.
To provide residents with a protected living environment, 1720 South Michigan Avenue, a 33-story, 498-unit high-rise, deployed a highly-scalable IP network video surveillance system that utilizes Toshiba IP cameras, SCS recording and management software, network video recorders and hybrid digital video recorders. Dbats Inc., a Chicago-based video surveillance company and a Toshiba ProfitMAX™ dealer, installed the system.
HID Global announced Beijing Metro, one of China’s busiest transit systems, deployed an access control system consisting of the company’s network access controllers and contactless readers. The centralized, Web-based system delivers real-time monitoring with multi-layered access control security, flexible remote-management capabilities and robust failure detection and backup support.
Beijing Metro is using HID Global’s VertX® V1000 network access controller and iCLASS® R10 readers to monitor and control access to a variety of facilities along its nearly 25-kilometer-long, 11-station Fangshan line. The system makes it easier for staff to prevent unauthorized access to electrical substations, parking lots and other facilities, offices and equipment areas at its stations.