Tennessee Airport Ramps Up Surveillance

Smyrna Airport near Nashville, Tenn. has recently upgraded its surveillance system to fulfill new FAA standards.


Due to the Federal Aviation Administration’s recommendation that every commercial airport provide enhanced law enforcement and security by June 2007, Smyrna Airport, located just outside of Nashville, Tenn., decided to upgrade its surveillance and access control systems.

“The corporate aviation accounts have insurance requirements we couldn’t meet before our force came on board and this system was installed. So we have lured business into this airport because of the new technology,” said Joe Johnson, Chief of Public Safety at the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority in Tennessee.

The Smyrna Airport public safety officers have gained a full overview of the facilities from a system that is flexible and scalable by using existing hardware while introducing an IP platform.

The airport’s new security solution includes a mix of network cameras and analog cameras converted to digital images via video servers managed by IP video surveillance software. The project has also integrated the video surveillance with an access control system.

Smyrna Airport started to use the new system in February 2006. The airport has a camera at every gate entrance and two pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras on the new terminal building; one PTZ camera is on top of the control tower and gives an overview of the entire airport. Personnel can move the cameras around and make additions to the system when necessary.

“The primary security goal is to lock the airport down, to control ingress and egress. We make sure no one gets through the gates who should not,” asserted Johnson. “Our officers do a great job with the surveillance! We’re watching them and we’ve got control over our facility.”

The airport has recently used the software for dealing with an accident, when a pilot landed short of the runway. Authorities were pleased to learn that the video images were encrypted, so they could prove there had been no tampering with the event’s evidence.

“The new system has really helped us a lot to monitor the facility. Any movement that happens at night, we’ve got it set up in the software to send an alert to check it. We’re on duty 24 hours a day. If someone tries to fly in some illegal cargo or to compromise our airport security, I’m going to track him and catch him! And just this morning, we had a fuel tanker hit a fence, so we’ve been working that case with the Milestone images to resolve how that happened,” added Johnson.

“We are ahead of schedule: we’ve already had our FAA and TSA inspections. As a matter of fact, the FAA is bringing other people in to see this system because they want to make other airports aware of its capabilities,” stated Johnson.

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