A unique application at Ronald Reagan National Airport serving Washington, D.C., that blends traditional door access controls and unique three-dimensional security video with a low-profile mantrap shows how government and business are seeking more effective technology. In this instance, the system eliminates tailgating and piggybacking while not noticeably affecting throughput of workers.

Billions of dollars from public and private sources are now going into the development of more effective security equipment.

For example, the Department of Homeland Security’s 2003 budget is about $37.5 billion, while the 2004 budget comes at close to $36.2 billion.

On the private investment side, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who founded the Giuliani Partners consulting firm, just partnered with Bear Stearns Merchant Banking to launch a $300 million fund to invest in security businesses. In a similar move, Maryland’s Chesapeake Innovation Center, a business incubator in Annapolis, says it will focus exclusively on nurturing companies that specialize in homeland security.

All those dollars and business assistance are chasing developers who take the basic building blocks of security to solve specific protection problems and more effective systems.

Upgraded Access Approach

A case in point is the upgraded technology at Reagan National, where, in certain areas, a tailgate detection alarm recording system (T-DAR) from Newton Security Inc. of Seattle, fights the two most common forms of unauthorized access in restricted areas, tailgating and piggybacking.

The tailgating/piggybacking solution installed at Reagan National utilizes vestibules, a kind of low-tech mantrap, equipped with a T-DAR system. These vestibules are constructed with glass walls and a second door assembly around an existing access controlled door.

The T-DAR system acts as a traffic cop, ensuring that both doors are not opened at the same time and that only one authorized person is in the vestibule when access is granted. Once the access control reader, located on the inside of the vestibule, has been activated, the T-DAR system locks the public-side glass door electronically.

In less than one second, the system analyzes the vestibule for the presence of only one person, making the transaction transparent to the end user and having virtually no impact on throughput.

The system is able to interface with virtually any access control system and allows for ease of installation in most applications. Configuration and setup are performed using an intuitive user interface that also provides statistical data collection capability for transactions and events. Some of the variations of product currently available are occupancy counting, tailgate detection and tailgate prevention. Additionally, this configuration meets the local and national requirements for life safety and emergency egress.

“This application is an example of the way modern high-technology solutions can dramatically improve homeland security,” says John Bramblet, president and CEO of Newton Security. “T-DAR not only provides alarm conditions when an unauthorized person attempts to enter a controlled area, but also captures valuable visual documentation that can be accessed and acted upon immediately. It can also detect a second person in the area of the protected doorway and it prevents even authorized personnel from opening a controlled access doorway if there is another person in the protected area.”

The machine-vision technology combines stereo cameras with software to enable a computer to “see” its surroundings and then act appropriately. The system is available through the firm’s integration partners: Honeywell; Johnson Controls Inc.; Siemens Building Technologies Inc.; and ADT Security Services.

In another example of technology redesigned for more effectiveness, the Chicago Police Department is deploying the Videolarm, Decatur, Ga., DeputyDome system as part of “Operation Disruption,” a new crime deterrent initiative in the city’s most crime-prone communities.

The backbone of this new program is Videolarm’s bullet-resistant DeputyDome, which will be mounted on light poles and other structures throughout the city. Officers will be able to manipulate surveillance equipment from remote locations through the use of a portable wireless terminal equipped with a monitor and Videolarm’s VLC485 controller. With the controller, the user can pan 360 degrees and zoom in on specific types of public criminal activity.


“We selected Videolarm’s DeputyDome for the project because of its unique bullet-resistant feature and for the ease of integration with the wireless transmission and other components of the project,” says Bruce Montgomery, president of Disclosure Video Systems, the integrator on the project. “The surveillance system is easy to integrate into the department’s overall solution and allowed us a great deal of flexibility along the way.”

The DeputyDome is integrated into a portable 16 x 16 x 24 “pod”which is trademarked with the Chicago police checkerboard insignia and features blue flashing lights on top of the housing to increase the unit’s visibility.

“The most unique aspect of this entire installation is the level of customization that was achieved with this system,” comments Mike Worden, national accounts manager for Videolarm. The installation and concept involved a joint effort between Videolarm, ADI Systems Group, Disclosure Video Systems, RMS and the Chicago Police Department. “Videolarm worked closely with the entire team to redesign the DeputyDome to fit the exact needs and specifications for the installation.”

The DeputyDome is used in numerous applications around the world, including other urban installations, such as the Lander Street Apartments complex in Newburgh, New York, where the DeputyDome was installed to help the Newburgh police provide around-the-clock surveillance in a low-income neighborhood, and the Murfreesboro Housing Authority in Tennessee.