An A+ System
Campus security is a never-ending effort that benefits students, staff and instructors
- By Angela Remmert
- Aug 03, 2006
Founded in 1891, Delaware State University is a fully accredited and diverse university. With its main location in Dover, Del., and campuses in Georgetown and Wilmington, DSU offers 67 undergraduate degrees, 18 graduate degrees and two doctoral programs to more than 3,300 students each year, which includes a school record of 3,722 students in the 2005 fall semester.
Since DSU uses safety as a differential in recruiting students, it is the responsibility of the DSU Police Department to maintain a safe environment for the campus community. For effective and efficient operation, the campus police found it needed a way to streamline its operations. DSU Chief of Police James Overton turned to systems integrator Advantech Inc. in Dover, Del., to provide a solution. Advantech selected Honeywell as their partner of choice.
With Pro-Watch, each campus entity can manage its own building. Public safety administrators, acting as overall system administrators, have access to all locations to provide security for the entire campus.
"The big advantage of Honeywell -- what they bring to the table -- is the professional field support, software development support and integration support that allows us to partner with Delaware State University and provide a complete turnkey solution," said Eric Schaeffer, president of Advantech.
Advantech selected Honeywell's Pro-Watch Security Management System, a multi-tiered client server architecture, as a multi-campus solution for integration of DSU's building and vehicle access control, CCTV, ID badging, intrusion detection, asset detection and fire alarm systems. With Pro-Watch, each campus entity can manage its own building. Public safety administrators, acting as overall system administrators, have access to all locations to provide security for the entire campus.
To streamline the registration process, Advantech worked with Honeywell Professional Services to integrate Pro-Watch with DSU's student accounts/HR, dining and library systems. Now, when a student registers, a cardholder record is automatically created within Pro-Watch and dormitory access rights are assigned. To complete the registration process, the student simply 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 bar code.
In response to a need from public safety to provide its officers in the field with the ability to verify the status of students and also to confirm if they are eligible for admission to events, Advantech, along with Honeywell, brought in Beacon Technologies to provide an integrated mobile solution that leveraged the Pro-Watch system. Working together, they developed mobile handheld scanners that maintain cardholder databases synced with Pro-Watch and also function as ticket writers.
By integrating Honeywell cameras and digital video recorders into the Pro-Watch system, DSU security is armed with powerful information from close to 200 cameras around the campus. A unique feature of the system is the ability to provide a verification window for the security officers, which displays the badge information and live video of the activity. For example, when someone uses the card reader at the point of entry, the badge photo comes up on screen at the dispatch center, as well as live video of the event. With this information, the security officer can verify that the person entering the door is the same person on the photo badge.
The integration of Pro-Watch with the student accounts system saves the university thousands of hours per year in data entry and wasted time.
"Instead of running multiple independent systems, the cardholder record only has to be entered once. Not only does this save time, but it dramatically increases accuracy since it ensures the cardholder's record is identical throughout all the systems," Schaeffer said.
The integration also provides an increased security level. Once an entry is made in the student account/HR system, that person's access rights can be automatically cancelled within Pro-Watch such as when a student is expelled or a staff member retires.
"In the past, a cancellation was contingent on an administrator remembering to call public safety to cancel the individual's access rights. If it was forgotten, then that person could have access rights indefinitely," Overton said.
The handheld scanners also help save time in the field. For example, when there is a campus event, public safety can set up admission points anywhere on the perimeter of an event and quickly admit authorized students. The scanners also save the university the cost of printing and issuing paper admission tickets. In addition, the ticket writing function allows officers to issue a ticket more quickly.
"In the past, it could take an officer up to 20 minutes to manually write down information, document the violation and issue the ticket. Now all the officer has to do is scan the ID, check the violation and location on the mobile ticker writers, and it prints the ticket. Tickets can be generated within a minute, allowing the officer to return to duty," Overton said.
With the video surveillance in place, campus police were able to make several arrests of students who were caught breaking into the residence halls.
"We were able to capture the event on video and make a CD of it," Overton said. "Knowing most of the students, my officers were able to identify them right away -- that's how clear the video was. We made an arrest within hours and were able to show the video to parents during orientation to demonstrate how we are protecting their children."