Making a Break

Sheriff's department makes move to digital surveillance

Rewind to the year 1991. Literally. After 14 years of overused VHS tapes, programmable VCRs and older matrix switchers, the Dearborn County, Ind., Sheriff ’s Department was overdue for an upgrade to its video surveillance system. The deputies and officers wanted a security system that would allow them to depend less upon manned in-house security and more upon digital, PC-controlled cameras and recorders.

Through the direction of representatives at NORCOM Inc., an authorized Sanyo security products dealer, a networked video surveillance system was installed in the county law enforcement center. With state-of-theart security resources now in place, deputies are better outfitted to monitor the building and protect public access areas more efficiently.

“We looked into a few other companies that did this kind of security system updating,” said Capt. David Wismann, jail administrator. “We went with the Sanyo solution from NOR-COM because it had so many features above and beyond what anyone else offered. The networked video surveillance management platform far surpasses any of our product expectations. Our facility is set for the present and future needs of the department.”

NOR-COM, originally established as Northern Kentucky Communications in 1971 as a services and maintenance organization, provides equipment and system integration expertise to the business, industrial, healthcare, educational and entertainment markets. For more than 36 years, NOR-COM has focused its efforts on providing cutting-edge technology to clients, as well as full backup and product support. Working closely with the county, NOR-COM created an affordable security and communications system solution for the Dearborn County Law Enforcement Center.

Out with the Old
The first phase of the upgraded Dearborn system included the installation of eight Sanyo high-performance DVRs. Antiquated analog VCRs were replaced with DSR-5016 DVRs to provide crisp, clear digital recording with real-time monitoring at 120 ips. The DVRs also are equipped with telemetry to provide PTZ control over dome camera systems, making them ideal for the most demanding surveillance applications.

“The DSR-5016 DVRs incorporate a unique feature called region of interest area designation that was particularly attractive to us,” said Capt. David Hall, who also is a jail administrator. “We are able to obtain better picture quality for preset screen areas along with the ability to optimize file sizes for more efficient storage and transmission.”

The DVRs are complemented by 45 color digital vandal- proof cameras installed at the main jail, courthouse and administrative buildings. Featuring innovative Pan- Focus™ Technology, the new security cameras can focus on every object in their field of view—no matter how close or far away it is from the camera—effectively increasing the coverage range of the cameras relative to conventional image-focusing techniques. Additionally, the dome cameras do not require manual adjustments and are able to keep the full frame in sharp, clear focus at all times. The coverage capabilities of the Pan-Focus cameras reduce the number of cameras required for typical video surveillance coverage and make unmanned surveillance more efficient.

Future Ready
The video surveillance system better prepares the facility for the seamless integration of future upgrades. Pan- Focus technology cameras that were purchased for analog functionality in their existing surveillance setup can easily be converted to networked digital cameras by adding an optional network IP board.

“In the future, the Dearborn County Sheriff ’s Department will be able to easily and cost-effectively upgrade their existing video surveillance system and migrate to a networked digital operating platform,” said Jim Kelley, installation manager/coordinator for NORCOM. “With the installed Pan-Focus cameras, the Dearborn facility is already network-ready with the simple addition of the Pan-Focus IP boards.”

Also added in the recent system upgrade at Dearborn is Sanyo’s Video Pilot enterprise control software. The PC-based solution allows officers to view, monitor and control their entire video surveillance system from one PC with a high level of convenience and flexibility. Video Pilot features a graphical user interface that is designed for easy navigation with features like file-free architecture, multiscreen configurations, drag-and-drop camera placement and a convenient desktop tool bar for regularly used functions. With Video Pilot, officers are able to view live video streams from virtually anywhere via the Internet, record video from multiple sources and play it back locally or remotely. Previously recorded video also can be exported for archival storage or to present as evidence in court.

Mission Accomplished
“The software is so user-friendly. It’s so easy to operate,” Wismann said. “In our business, we have a built-in turnover of employees, with more than three shift changes every 24 hours, so it is important for us to have a video surveillance system that’s easy to learn and use so employees can get up and running without a tremendous amount of training.”

NOR-COM’s technical support team provided the sheriff ’s department with a touchscreen and joystick controller to further improve ease of operation and overall monitoring capabilities. The VSP-9000 interfaces with a digital multiplexer for selectable camera call-up of any camera in the system as well as control of all system DVRs. Additionally, two 32-inch color LCD video monitors are installed in the main control room, providing large, crisp reproduction of all live and recorded video images.

“Sanyo’s video surveillance technologies and NORCOM’s technical support have combined to provide us with an outstanding solution,” Wismann said. “Additionally, they have been there after the sale to ensure we are fully familiar with all of the system’s capabilities. They have done everything in their power to make this a positive experience.”

This article originally appeared in the June 2008 issue of Security Today.

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