Statewide Security

Delaware Capitol Police use video analytics to protect governor's mansion

Since 1965, the Delaware Capitol Police has worked to ensure that the state government can operate safely and uninterrupted. The agency’s responsibilities include protecting legislators while in session, safeguarding the governor’s mansion and residence, and servicing approximately 100 state buildings. Over time, the number of state buildings has increased, along with the agency’s scope of responsibilities.

Doing More with Less
As with any law enforcement agency, manpower is always an issue. As a result, the agency sought a way to enhance its ability to protect with effective technology, including video surveillance deployed throughout state facilities. In many cases, law enforcement officers monitor those sites from a command center in a central location and remotely from local offices.

“Like most police agencies today, we’re doing more with less,” said Chief William H. Jopp, Delaware Capitol Police. “It makes more sense to work smarter, not harder, with the help of tools like video surveillance.”

For the agency, working smarter meant installing an advanced video surveillance system. In 2008, the agency turned to Dover-based security integrator Advantech Inc. to install several of Honeywell’s security technologies, including the Active Alert® suite of intelligent video analytics.

“From the outset of our initial discussions with Delaware Capitol Police, it was clear that the agency needed technology that was both advanced and versatile enough to handle some of the unique applications and areas that its officers are tasked with protecting,” said Eric Schaeffer, president of Advantech. “We saw Honeywell’s video analytics technology as the logical choice for helping officers more efficiently and effectively identify and respond to security threats.”

Analytics in Action
Active Alert classifies behaviors and actions caught on camera, using predefined events to automatically issue alerts so officers can quickly respond to potential threats. For example, a predefined event could include a person entering a restricted area or an unauthorized vehicle entering a parking area. Active Alert would detect such activity and immediately alert officers, who could then deploy resources to investigate the violation and correct it.

“One person watching numerous cameras can often accomplish a lot more than a couple of officers walking a beat,” said Capt. David Hunt, Delaware Capitol Police. “This system helped us prioritize our responses. It enables us to work smarter, providing an extra set of eyes around the perimeter of buildings and in critical areas that require constant surveillance.”

While watching a 360-degree radius from a single position is a difficult task, video analytics is helping the agency detect threats from all angles and across state locations. The technology also offers the specificity needed for establishing varying degrees of security threats—a key to helping officers prioritize responses. The agency can classify zones as green, yellow or red, which correspond with degrees of threat severity. This helps give officers advance notice that someone is near a facility or restricted area and helps them take immediate action, if necessary.

If someone enters a green area, for example, the system will notify police, who can then begin to monitor the situation and determine if the person poses a threat and requires a police response. Breaching a yellow or red zone will trigger a police presence in the area to determine a person’s motive and if additional action is required.

“By incorporating the video analytics software, we’re now able to better detect potential threats nearby and decipher between false alarms and actionable security breaches,” Hunt said.

The agency also is benefiting from improved efficiency, thanks to search tools. The tools instantly search each camera view to locate video, enabling easy and rapid retrieval.

“We can now record all activity without having to worry that if we miss something we’ll have to spend hours manually searching through tapes,” Hunt said. “This is especially beneficial in the event we do have a crime occur and need to draw the event back up for prosecution later on.”

Streamlined Security
The system provides seamless integration for the agency’s security operations, including access control, and allows systems to talk to each other. Because of the common platform, the agency can view real-time video in the event of a security alarm triggered by an event, like an access violation. For example, the agency issues credentials, which are tied into the common Pro-Watch platform and enable employees to enter controlled doors monitored by card access. In the event of an access violation, the alarm triggers the video system, providing a live view of the situation and helping the agency respond appropriately. Since its 2008 implementation, the Honeywell system has helped the agency improve its monitoring and response capabilities. Officers expect the system to continue to provide reliable and actionable real-time info as the state’s needs and facilities continue to expand and evolve.

“The video analytics technology is very reliable and meets the demands of today,” Jopp said. “What’s also nice is when we look five or 10 years down the road, the equipment will still meet those demands.”

This article originally appeared in the January 2009 issue of Security Today.

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