Order In The Court

Superior court improves security with new solution

When the Middlesex County Superior Court in Massachusetts wanted to improve security, county officials went all out by installing state-of-the-art equipment in the new facility. The solution keeps everyone in mind when monitoring numerous locations, including jury members, people in holding cells, victims, witnesses and bar advocates. Judges and court staff also benefit from the long reach of security.

Approximately 180 court staff occupy the newly built, 140,000-square-foot, seven-story Middlesex County Superior Courthouse. The facility includes 15 courtrooms, 15 jury deliberation rooms and 22 holding cells with separate areas for men and women. The courthouse also features office space for staff of the Middlesex District Attorney's Office and the Committee for Public Counsel Services, as well as space designated for victims, witnesses and bar advocates.

New and Improved

When the Middlesex County Superior Court moved locations from Cambridge, Mass., to the new building in Woburn, Mass., the court required a modern security system for the new site. Security staff needed a reliable and long-lasting video surveillance system to help security staff monitor various locations within the court, including public areas, courtrooms, holding cells, interview rooms, and areas designated for court staff and judges.

The Administrative Office of the Trial Court for the Massachusetts Court System chose a Bosch solution.

Now, more than 165 FlexiDome XT+ cameras provide surveillance throughout the interior and exterior of the seven-floor building, installed by SIGNET Electronics Systems Inc. of Norwell, Mass.

The cameras are vandal-resistant and IP-66 rated for protection against water and dust ingress. The cameras stream video to an Allegiant matrix and control system. Court officers can view multiple cameras at once using video quad processors, which is helpful if court officers need to see video from all cameras positioned in a certain area on a single screen. If an alarm sounds, the video system automatically brings camera views associated with the area to the court officer's screen.

Officers can play back video through the system's multiplexers. Video records on motion at 7 to 15 frames per second, using 10 18-channel DiBos DVRs. Recorded video is only accessible by the assistant director of security and systems specialist and one additional person. This precautionary measure helps safeguard video that is important for legal matters.

A Closed Case

"Recorded video provides strong evidence for documentation of altercations, fights, thefts or physical damage within the courthouse property," said Daniel English, assistant director of security and systems specialist for the administrative office of the trial court. "If a fight breaks out in a lockup holding cell, the video systems also help court officers speed response times."

The Bosch digital video recordings are used to improve the training of court officers -- within lockup and courtroom areas -- and associate court officers -- within screening stations," English said. "The video systems help to keep the officers alert, and that helps to allow routine court proceedings."

About the Author

Greg Sparrow is the director of system integration for SIGNET Electronic Systems Inc.

  • Environmental Protection
  • Occupational Health & Safety
  • Infrastructure Solutions Group
  • Spaces4Learning
  • Campus Security & Life Safety