Improving Building Security

Security center unifies security operations across waste and water facilities, police and fire departments, city hall, libraries, park and recreation buildings, public works facilities and the regional airport

The city of Lakeland, Fla., has recently standardized its security operations with a unified security platform that combines video surveillance, access control and automatic license plate recognition systems into one central monitoring and management platform.

Located between Tampa and Orlando, Lakeland is home to more than 100,000 residents. While surveillance efforts were already in place to keep citizens safe, the city was dealing with many different disparate analog and DVR systems. City administrators wanted a more robust, and reliable IP-based security system. After much deliberation, the city chose the Genetec Security Center and SiteSecure, a leading security integrator that was recently acquired by Miller Electric Co., is currently contracted to handle installations and maintenance for the city-wide expansion project.

While the city-wide system is ever-evolving, Security Center has been installed at 53 sites throughout the city. These sites include waste and water facilities, police and fire departments, city hall, libraries, park and recreation buildings, public works facilities and the regional airport. Omnicast and Synergis, the video surveillance and access control systems within Security Center, are managing a total of 650 cameras and more than 450 doors, respectively.

“The scalability and flexibility of Security Center has been phenomenal,” said Alan Lee, security and safety systems supervisor, Public Works Facilities, city of Lakeland. “With the new unified platform, we have been able to accommodate every single need or application that has been requested by our city organizations.”

One of the biggest persuaders for the city to choose Security Center was its innate open architecture, allowing the city to choose its preferred brands and models of hardware, while also leveraging existing investments to lower their total cost of ownership.

“We were able to preserve existing analog cameras and also the cable, power and card technologies from previously installed access control systems at various sites,” Lee said. “This was a huge selling point for senior management, since we were able to capitalize on existing investments and save around $300 per door and $200 per camera.”

All cameras and access control devices are located within the same platform, but the city officials have implemented very granular partitioning so that each department has exclusive control of the video and access control for their own buildings.

More than 200 system users have access to the system with specific privileges set according to their various functions, and more than 3,300 cardholders can freely move through city buildings, when and where permitted. Designated “partition leaders” at each department are responsible for issuing badges, changing rules or accessing video, where applicable. The active directory feature helps the city’s IT department streamline the whole process, offering centralized management and synchronization of Windows user accounts with Security Center’s administrator and cardholder accounts.

With full administrative control over all local systems, the IT department can offer convenient and centralized support. “We have become a one-stop-shop for servicing all of our city departments, which saves everyone considerable time,” Lee said. “There’s no more need to jump through hoops. One call to our department and we can we update door schedules, tweak access control rights, and immediately activate or deactivate cardholders. This helps to keep our buildings operationally efficient and secure.”

While the new platform has certainly contributed to keeping city buildings secure, the neighborhood has benefited from Security Center as well, making life in Lakeland easier and safer. For example, to accommodate community events or city hall meetings, system administrators can implement temporary door schedules to provide citizens with free-flowing access to buildings after-hours.

“Witnessing the efficiencies that have been experienced by each department and the community as a whole, Lakeland has increased its budget year-over-year for the last five years for continued citywide expansion with Genetec Security Center,” Lee said.

With federally-mandated compliance standards being imposed on all electric utility organizations, the city is focused on re-evaluating and upgrading all of the Lakeland Electric systems, while possibly unifying perimeter protection with Security Center. The city is also making the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport a priority in its expansion, bringing more doors and cameras online. Finally, the city is looking into AutoVu license plate recognition for both law enforcement and parking applications.

“We started with 12 cameras and a few doors, and now we are closing in on 700 cameras and 500 doors, all connected to our city infrastructure. It is really impressive to see where we have come from, what we can do with the system and what the future holds for the City of Lakeland. We have definitely chosen the right platform as Security Center gives us the flexibility to achieve any objective,” Lee said.

This article originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of Security Today.

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