Government executives sought a system that was easy to self-administer. In addition, separate county agencies wanted their building’s cards to carry a particular logo and graphics while maintaining enterprise access, too. Shown is a Cardholder Screen display in the Pinnacle system.
Like most government agencies across the country, California’s Orange County has placed increasing emphasis on the security of its employees and its buildings. Ability to grant or deny building access and monitor traffic flow over 60 facilities is truly a challenge – especially when combined with today’s state of world events.

The relationship between Checkpoint Systems of Thorofare, N.J., and the Internal Services/Facilities Operations Division of Orange County dates back to 1986. That’s when the County chose Checkpoint Systems to implement card-activated access control on a single door with 400 users. Over the past 18 years, the number of municipal facilities has continued to grow along with the number of employees and visitors frequenting these locations. Today, Orange County is in the process of upgrading from a ThresholdEnterprise Access Control System, which handled more than 1,800 readers spread across all facilities, to a Pinnacle Plus. The county’s buildings are all networked to the division’s main office in Santa Ana for centralized programming, control and monitoring via LAN/WAN. Over 30,000 users are currently enrolled in the system.

Keys to Mag Stripe

When the project first started, management’s objective was to save money on re-keying building system requirements including networking ability, which was via modem at the beginning. They also wanted an access control system that could be installed and serviced by the county’s staff along with other parameters such as warranty support, training of county staff and support from the selected manufacturer for further expansion.

ThresholdEnterprise was the choice. The system has run great since day one for the division – even with all the system upgrades and expansions over the years. Now the county is in the process of changing all of their magnetic strip readers to proximity readers in order to eliminate the need to replace worn strip readers.

Orange County has a multifaceted staff that has been actively involved in all aspects of the access control system’s evolution to date. One of the areas where the system has proved highly effective is in law enforcement – in evidence rooms, refrigerators and freezers and in various laboratories. The county staff has also used the system for emergency lockdowns and lockouts in specific buildings when needed.

Orange County’s improvements to its electronic access control system will include proximity cards as well as a platform change to the Checkpoint Pinnacle system.

Mag Stripe to Prox

After running a beta system test site, Orange County’s Services/Facilities Operations Division realized that Pinnacle delivers capabilities that will further improve the county’s ability to manage its access control network. In Orange County, Pinnacle will help manage building access from a central point and will minimize on-site troubleshooting constrained by distance and traffic. At the same time, each agency requires some security autonomy. For example, each county agency wants its building’s cards to carry a particular logo and graphics and a significant number of the County’s employees need fast access to more than one building.

There may be times, for example, when emergency response requires county sheriffs to get into a health care center without delay. Pinnacle’s wide range of extended features thus proved very attractive. These features included: security system administration and control with the power to set-up multiple passwords and permissions per user; simultaneous monitoring of separately defined regions; SQL database management and system partitioning; extensive report options; DVR and security video integration with mapping; and a software development tool to take advantage of open architecture for customization and advanced integration.

Checkpoint has provided the staff at Orange County with training in both field system support and computer programming so they can proceed with the upgrade to Pinnacle. New facilities being integrated into the system are installed by authorized Checkpoint dealers in the Orange County area. One of the elements that has helped perpetuate Checkpoint’s relationship with Orange County is the company’s technical support and willingness to work to help solve end user’s problems in the field. Orange County’s need for a high level of customization and labor-efficient solutions makes it quite a demanding customer.

Sidebar: California Counties Call

for Disaster Response

Verizon Wireless maintains a fleet of Cells on Wheels (COWS) for rapid disaster response throughout California. COWS can process thousands of calls every hour in the event that other cell sites are damaged or disabled by a community disaster. Weighing 20,000 pounds, COWS are loaded with $500,000 of network equipment, including a retractable mast, microwave antenna and a power generator. Extra equipment, food, water and cots for long shifts can be added based on the actual scope of an emergency.