Maryland School District Standardizes Security With IQeye Cameras

Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland is deploying IQeye megapixel IP cameras throughout its schools. James Gompers is consultant to the project, and Netcom Technologies is overseeing project installation. IQinVision is a provider of high-performance megapixel network cameras, smart IP cameras and network video recording systems.

With more than 200 schools and facilities, 138,000 students and 21,000 employees, security is extremely important for MCPS. After Sept. 11, 2001, the County Council provided Bob Hellmuth, MCPS director of school safety and security, with funds to purchase security cameras for the high schools.

“We put 16 to 32 cameras in each school along with a VCR,” Hellmuth said. “We were surprised at how short the equipment shelf life was -- the VCRs kept breaking down; then we went to DVRs, but we knew we could do better.”

MCPS maintains its own alarm control center -- monitoring perimeters, boilers, water flow, refrigeration, windows for breakage and more. Hellmuth wanted to be able to integrate onto a single platform all alarm monitoring with access control and video surveillance for all schools on the county’s network. He knew he couldn’t do it with DVRs.

“For what we wanted to accomplish, the IQeye was the best choice for us,” Hellmuth said “We would go with nothing less than megapixel cameras both for image quality and for coverage.”

MCPS has 25 high schools, 35 middle schools and 135 elementary schools, and the plan is for all schools to implement video surveillance. The most immediate need is in the middle schools, which on average are deploying 50 IQeye cameras. The high schools require a larger number of cameras. While plans are not yet complete for the elementary schools, those locations will have relatively fewer cameras.

Coverage objectives for the middle and high schools include all entrance doors, public areas, hallways, lockers, cafeterias, stairwells and gyms. Each school monitors and stores its own video; cameras are on 24/7 and record on motion. The central command and control, where all alarm monitoring is done and where Hellmuth is located, has access to all video, access control and alarm data.

“We believe that for students to learn and staff to be effective, they have to believe they are in a safe learning and working environment,” Hellmuth said. “We must assure parents that we can take care of their children, and if there was ever a major incident, that we are prepared to take care of the situation. We don’t monitor the cameras live at all times, so if we have an incident, we need to be certain we’ve got good images.”

“The MCPS command center runs 24/7 and handles 30,000 alarm signals a month,” said Paul Bodell, IQinVision’s chief marketing officer. “IQeye megapixel cameras provide the image quality and reliability to monitor and verify alarm activity, to reconstruct events and to offer live feeds for all the different security challenges a school district must be prepared to manage effectively. Montgomery County’s extensive deployment of IQeye cameras demonstrates our effectiveness for the critical and growing education market.”

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