A Smooth Transition
Time for a ChangeIn 1995, the OCPD purchased an access control system that was-at the time-state-of-the-art. Over time, the system developed problems both from its age and from increasing demands on the department. Random security hardware failures, monitoring breakdowns, system crashes and repeated false alarms were just some of the problems that the OCPD experienced. Most of this was due to an unreliable dial-up connection.
In addition to these problems, the security manufacturer of the existing system was going out of business. This prevented the OCPD from purchasing additional hardware as replacements or upgrades, and eliminated support from manufacturer representatives. It became painfully obvious that the OCPD would have to undergo a security overhaul.
Part of the challenge for the OCPD was that it needed to find a way to replace the existing system without any downtime. The transition had to be completely transparent to users.
"This project involved removing the existing access control system while maintaining security during the installation of the new AMAG 425 system. This was a major challenge because of the sensitivity and level of security required on several of the buildings. Evidence storage areas, drug labs and ballistics labs had to have continuing protection," says Jerick Henley, vice president of sales and marketing for Dowley, Inc., the local Oklahoma City integrator who handled the upgrade. "All of this was accomplished by creating a comprehensive installation and implementation plan. The plan provided for both systems, new and old, to be operating simultaneously. Following the installation of the AMAG software and controllers, individual alarm points and card readers would be moved from the old system one by one. This method reduced the down time on each control point to mere minutes. The Police Department was given a schedule of the point by point cutover so they could provide additional security if needed."
No DowntimeDowley Inc., recommended the AMAG 425 from Group 4 Securitas, Torrance, Calif. The system was the best fit for the department, both technically and financially. The AMAG 425 allowed the OCPD to use existing cards, readers and doors, providing a cost savings $25,000 - $50,000.
"We recommended the AMAG 425 system for several reasons. First, the AMAG software provided for a multi-user, integrated access control and alarm monitoring system for up to 128 card readers, 20,000 card holders, and two operator work stations," says Henley. "This capacity was essential because of the size of the existing OCPD access control system. The department controls nine separate buildings located throughout Oklahoma City with the new system. With the AMAG 425's ability to communicate remotely via the existing LAN and use standard dial-up modems for backup, the Police Department was ensured continuous operation of the system."
As part of the upgrade, Dowley integrated 20 Group 4 MDU-Controller panels into the system on a LAN, allowing the system to be networked.
By using the AMAG 425 in conjunction with the AMAG MDU2 multiNODE controllers, Dowley was able to incorporate the existing card readers, proximity cards and door hardware, thus reducing the cost of the replacement.
The system not only provides access control on highly sensitive areas of the department, but it also provides for alarm monitoring throughout the system. The AMAG 425's ability to route specific alarms to separate workstations creates a tremendous amount of flexibility for the administrators of the system. Priority one alarms can be sent to the evening dispatchers, while priority three alarms are routed directly to supervisors.
In addition to access control and alarm monitoring, the 425 software provides integrated identification badging. The police department had been outsourcing this service but was able to bring it in house and reduce their ID expenditures without any additional capital outlay for software or computers.
Aside from the features and benefits of the AMAG 425 software, Dowley has been very pleased with the functionality and performance of the hardware. The multiNODE controllers have performed flawlessly, thus reducing the amount of time spent servicing the system.
As required, the changeover went undetected by users: cardholders could not tell when they went from one system to the other. Because the dial-up connection was replaced with the LAN connection, the Department is now able to have online, real-time monitoring of all events. The AMAG system also enables restricted access to sensitive areas, such as illegal narcotics or DNA evidence.
This project involved removing the existing access control system while maintaining security during the installation of the new AMAG 425 system. This was a major challenge because of the sensitivity and level of security required on several of the buildings. Evidence storage areas, drug labs, and ballistics labs had to have continuing protection.
"Since we've been online, I haven't had to worry about it," says Evans. "I haven't received phone calls at midnight telling me the to elevators don't work or nobody can get into the evidence-processing lab. We're very pleased with the system."