Wide-Scale Municipal Security

Wisconsin community seeks safety for all departments

When Brown County, Wis., decided to install a centralized surveillance solution throughout its government facilities, Milestone XProtect Corporate video management software was deployed over the existing private communications fiber network to increase safety for its departments. “We were able to develop a solution that combined multiple aspects, including the Milestone Federated Architecture and Agent Vi analytics to fit the broad needs of Brown County,” said Tom Reminga, CTO of Technology Resource Advisors Inc. “The reliable, cost-effective and scalable nature of the Milestone platform allows the county’s IT department, along with each department administration, to easily monitor government buildings for the safety of the community.”

Brown County was searching for a centralized video surveillance solution that could be administered by the county’s IT department, while also allowing access to individual departments by respective managers. The local government’s previous system was made up of disparate DVR systems, which were time- and spaceconsuming and could not be 100 percent relied upon during or after an event.

An improved IP video management system was designed to keep workers and the publicly owned property safe, with streamlined efficiency. The county installed a fiber communications network connecting those buildings, with a complete digital surveillance system in a significant number of government buildings, incorporating digital cameras from Axis Communications. Interconnected through the Milestone VMS and architecture, Brown County can now efficiently monitor sites such as the airport, museum, courthouse, library, community treatment center (CTC), jail solid waste facilities and more. Plus, the Milestone open platform allows the value-adding integration of Agent Vi analytics software.

The solution fosters more efficient staffing, decreasing the need and costs of having a physical security presence, while keeping a reliable eye on assets.

Comprehensive Coverage Needs

Brown County covers 530 square miles and is home to the Green Bay Packers NFL football team, 13 townships, nine villages and two cities. When looking to upgrade its video surveillance system, the county’s Information Services department searched for a solution that would not only integrate seamlessly with the existing fiber network, but would also provide efficient, high-resolution digital surveillance to manage the varied safety needs of the publicly owned facilities.

With departments scattered throughout the area, the ideal solution would allow administration-controlled, restricted access to video from specific areas, enabling all departments to share video, providing fast and efficient views of security events. A VMS that offered easy integration with value-adding thirdparty systems and multi-phase scalability for a future-proof investment was required to meet these demands.

Milwaukee-cased Technology Resource Advisors Inc. (TRA) carried out the county-wide installation, deploying the VMS.

“When the information came through our department from TRA about Milestone’s IP open platform, allowing analytics integrations and other security systems for access control, we were very impressed,” said Kevin Raye, network support manager at Brown County. “Everything, including the pricing standpoint and the fact that the technology is compatible with a large variety of cameras, helped us in our final decision to choose this surveillance solution.”

Full-scale System

“From a user standpoint, the system is especially great for Brown County,” said Carrie Borofka, programmer and analyst for Brown County. “As an administrator of the software, I turn it on and quickly open it up and see the entire system— log in and we’re good to go.”

For users logging in from multiple sites, the central administrators securely and rapidly allow or deny access to viewers as needed. For example, the CTC is a state-licensed psychiatric facility where surveillance may be used for medical purposes, more than security. Patient privacy concerns are considered, so the assigned roles set up in the system mean that unauthorized users are blocked.

When it came time to roll out the system, Raye, as the head engineer, worked to ensure the cameras were properly installed and calibrated. TRA provided and deployed the Milestone solution, as the “brains” of the operation, Reminga said.

The system’s storage capabilities give the flexibility to determine video backup on a camera-by-camera basis. For example, the county can use license plate video capture in conjunction with the data from the application to verify a customer’s bill at the Solid Waste Transfer Station. A minimum of 30 days of full video backup is kept for the county and can be adjusted if archived images are required for longer periods. Video can be pruned to use a much lower frame rate—similar to a series of digital photographs.

A Centralized Setup

With a system so dispersed throughout the fourth-largest county in the state, it was imperative for Brown County to have its surveillance needs centralized but also available for each department to monitor and export video.

The first phase of the networked camera installation implemented the VMS system in nine of the departments. Austin Straubel International Airport (the third largest in the state), the CTC, courthouse, jail, public libraries, Neville Public Museum, the Northern Building, Sheriff’s department and the Sophie Beaumont Building are all equipped with the VMS system and connected through the Milestone Federated Architecture.

Analytics Aid the Airport

Throughout Austin Straubel International Airport, the county has implemented an analytics system from Agent Vi, integrated with the Milestone system. A previous brand of analytics had multiple issues caused by failing hardware and inefficient software.

Rather than stationing TSA agents or security guards at additional checkpoints in the airport, the Vi-System, Agent Vi’s real-time detection and alert software, monitors the video footage for predefined security and safety events and scenarios. When an event is detected, an alert is sent to the system, which triggers various actions, including live video pop-up of the relevant camera.

Agent Vi’s analytics are used in various applications at the airport, including sterile zone monitoring whereby Vi- System detects movement by people in restricted areas and alerts security staff of such events. With polygons being drawn in certain regions in the video images, the security operator is immediately notified if anyone passes through a restricted area. This enables an immediate response in line with the level of threat associated with the event.

The runways also use Axis thermal IP cameras to monitor the movement of airplanes, service vehicles and staff. Vi-System analyzes the images provided by the thermal cameras to differentiate between people, vehicles and static objects. In this case, Vi-System has been predefined to detect and alert when there are people present in a vehicle- only lane, while disregarding the movement of vehicles in that area. This eliminates the need for a physical presence by the security team in the area of interest. The corresponding notifications are sent in real-time to the Milestone system, allowing an appropriate response as the event unfolds.

Improved Operations

Having a centralized IP video surveillance solution provides Brown County new levels of security that improve operational processes and protects the investments of the hard-working community.

TRA trained the Brown County staff for their new surveillance technology over numerous one- or two-hour sessions.

“The Milestone platform is very user friendly, so each session went quite smoothly,” Reminga said. “Instructing the team on multiple situations, changing views and differences between administrative duties were easily explained and absorbed quickly by all involved.”

To both TRA and Brown County, it was very important to know the system could scale up protection and service, whether adding more cameras or additional software with Milestone’s futureproof system. They continuously weigh the options of expanding the county’s monitoring system, researching which departments can use security.

This article originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of Security Today.

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