The city of Albuquerque is using PSIM software to provide a common operating picture across all video sources within the city. The software’s open architecture allows the city to add new schools, merchants and other local businesses to the platform without additional costs.
Like most security executives, Janet McFadden-Messimer doesn’t get to leave work when the clock strikes 5 pm each day. McFadden-Messimer is physical security manager of Metro Bank of Central Pennsylvania, which has bank offices that stay open as late as 8 pm some days, which potentially makes the bank and its employees more vulnerable to security incidents. “The biggest challenge of preventing robberies is ensuring our employees are aware of their surroundings at all times,” she says.
Metro Bank, a subsidiary of Metro Bancorp Inc., is a financial services retailer with 33 stores. It is headquartered in Harrisburg, Pa.
Metro Bank was one of Diebold’s first fire customers. But since then, in addition to implementing fire detection solutions and services, the bank has enhanced security and improved operational efficiencies through cameras, alarms and video. Today, she says, of all of the elements: “They are an integral part of our success.”
Metro’s alarm system was converted to a DMP system throughout all its stores, making alarm issues much easier to control. Metro consolidated three systems to one standard system. “Now, when an employee transfers from one store to another, they are already familiar with how to operate the alarm system. And with our alarm monitoring now consistent and user-friendly, I can access the system from any computer at any time,” she says.
The bank’s Metro Center is one of McFadden-Messimer’s proudest successes.
“We built in security from the start of the building’s development. We chose products that provide sufficient coverage and maximum security. We worked together as a team to accomplish one common goal – to create an enjoyable, highly functional and safe place to work.”
It’s the type of program that Metro Center has – incorporating video, cameras, alarms and fire systems – that is also helping Delaware State University (DSU) to streamline its operations. The police are using a security management system from Honeywell as a multi-campus solution for integration of the university’s building and vehicle access control, security video, ID badging, intrusion detection, asset detection and fire alarm systems. Now each campus entity can manage its own building. Public Safety, acting as overall system administrator, has access to all locations to provide security for the entire campus. In addition, when a student registers, a card holder record is automatically created and dormitory access rights are assigned. To complete the registration process, the student walks into the ID badging center where his picture is taken and signature is electronically captured. In less than a minute, the student’s ID card is printed and automatically encoded for meal plan and bookstore use and is printed with the library system’s barcode.
The integration also provides an increased security level. If a student is expelled or if a staff member retires, once this entry is made in the student account/HR system, that individual’s access rights can be automatically cancelled. “In the past, it was contingent on someone from administration remembering to call Public Safety to cancel the individual’s access rights. If it was forgotten, then that person could have access rights indefinitely,” says DSU Chief of Police James Overton.
Chief Overton tells Security that the first installation was with the school’s Department of Agriculture. “We helped them to write a security piece into their program, which got them a grant to pay for the installation. After that, every department wanted this system. It has helped streamline operations because it has reduced the number of keys and card access, gave us an audit trail and helped us solve some hit and run accidents. Overall, we’ve saved more than $100,000.”
Future plans include video analytics and license plate readers, he says.
THE COMMON THREAD
In yet another successful integration, the city of Albuquerque, N.M. implemented a video surveillance network to monitor the city’s downtown area and other city-owned facilities.
City officials had been dealing with several security challenges, including the city’s size, number of city-owned buildings and public spaces and the fact that each city department implemented and operated its own security system.
“We have 6,000 employees, 18 different departments, 800 city-owned buildings spread across 400 square miles, and every department has their own budget and their own priorities,” explains Mark Shepherd, director of security for the city. “Every department has their own ideas, their own cameras, but nothing talked to anything else.”
Shepherd knew that the project had to first include standards to follow both during the deployment and for the ongoing management of the surveillance network. “A key success factor for us was to set mandatory standards for all of our departments,” Shepherd says. “Now, if you’re going to place a camera or an access reader on the system it has to go through our technical review committee and conform to the established standards for all software and hardware.”
Today, approximately 300 cameras, managed by DVTel, monitor facilities throughout the city, ranging from the downtown city complex to solid waste facilities to a family advocacy center. For access control, the city works with Software House.
The heart of the project is in the center of the city where cameras monitor the downtown city complex, which includes the city plaza with a performance stage, a pedestrian mall, select city buildings and a hotel. In addition, the main dump, solid waste and recycling facilities are monitored both to improve safety and to provide a video review of operations. The system also manages camera input from cash transactions at the city and county recycling and treasury offices and other city payment offices.
Typically, video is managed by each department and is also sent, via network, to remote monitoring locations. The eventual goal is to develop a true command and control capability that centralizes all resources and all video, access, and alarm data into a single location that monitors public streets, buildings and open spaces.
Already the system has captured a vandal spraying graffiti on ten downtown buildings. Shepherd’s staff reviewed the video and tied together multiple cameras to track the vandal’s progress to an apartment building, where he swiped in. City officials obtained the identity of the perpetrator from the building manager.
Albuquerque’s water processing and wastewater facilities are also under video surveillance. Future plans call for expanding surveillance from the current buildings and areas to community centers, museums, parks and recreation areas and the federal and municipal court complexes.
MOST LIVABLE AND MOST CONNECTED
Physical security information systems (PSIM) are in a new security technology class that combines diverse physical security sensors and devices and completely manages them from a single platform. What’s happening is that, as physical security infrastructures continue to grow, the need to manage these infrastructures becomes even greater and more complex. First view the traditional security environment: there are a host of security devices, which include security video; analytics; storage such as network video recorders (NVRs) and digital video recorders (DVRs); electronic access control; intrusion alarm systems; fire alarm and life safety systems; building management systems and other applications. There’s even a way in for the convergence with logical security.
Davenport, Iowa recently received national recognition as one of the “Most Livable Small Cities in America.” With a population of less than 100,000, Davenport is the regional beacon and hub of the metropolitan Quad-Cities, population 400,000, and the third largest city in Iowa.
The city wanted a sophisticated physical security system to help improve public safety, boost the efficiency of its police and fire departments and provide remote surveillance of high traffic and crime areas.
It had experimented with video surveillance to reduce criminal activity while improving the safety of the public and its public safety personnel. After experiencing initial success, the City Council pursued a more wide-ranging system of cameras, with plans to increase the number in the near future. Several initial challenges included the requirement for a sophisticated physical security system capable of providing a common operating picture across multiple vendors’ systems and technologies and, scaling to support the entire Quad City area. The system also needed to connect multiple departments’ cameras into one central command center. Additionally, it needed to leverage the power of the network to distribute streaming video to first responders.
Today the city is using VidSys PSIM software to provide a common operating picture across all video sources within the city. The software’s open architecture allows the city to add new schools, merchants and other local businesses to the platform without additional costs. Additionally, video and data feeds are shared with multiple departments as well as emergency and public safety.
The system consists of fixed cameras, mobile cameras, fiber optic transport links from the cameras to City Hall, wireless transport links from cameras (both mobile and fixed) to City Hall, a video storage system and a video management and display system.
The system allows the city to add new schools, merchants, and other local businesses to the platform without additional costs. Additionally, video and data feeds can be shared with multiple departments as well as emergency and public safety personnel, thereby providing valuable real-time information to manage and resolve situations and incidents.
For example, if a 911 call is made about a suspect, an officer can pull up cameras at the reported location and quickly review live and recorded video of the situation. In unfolding situations, the image of the subject can be captured and sent to the command center for identification and tracking of the individual until officers arrive on scene. This system allows the city to catch vandals in real-time and may offset additional time spent on forensic research. Unmarked cars can be parked in various locations including recreational areas to allow staff to review activity while ensuring the public’s safety when officers are not present.