An Eye on Paradise
Maui County migrates to a centralized security system
- By Steve Carney
- May 01, 2013
There are eight main islands that make up Hawaii, and four are a part
of the county of Maui: Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe. Together,
these islands encompass approximately 2,400 square miles
and a population of 154,000 residents. Recently, the county implemented
an initiative to migrate toward one centralized system for
all security, including access control, biometrics and surveillance on its three
populated islands, excluding Kahoolawe, which does not have any residents or
With 2,500 employees and myriad buildings on the three islands, including
business offices, police stations, fire stations, prosecuting attorney offices, water department
facilities, golf courses and maintenance yards, integrating a countywide
security system was no small feat. With just the surveillance system alone, county
officials have more than 125 cameras to maintain and manage on their network.
Initially, the system was installed to protect critical infrastructure, including five
county administration buildings, the Maui Police Department and the Maui Water
Department. After realizing the value of one centralized system, county officials
began looking at ways to expand security reach and protect other areas.
“Our goal was to integrate all of our departments onto a single platform that
allows us to control all of the security subsystems,” said Dennis Schwind, security
coordinator and executive assistant to Maui County’s managing director.
One of the challenges the county needed to tackle was expanding its surveillance
system to include cameras that could protect facilities, parking areas, and
hundreds of county vehicles after hours.
“We have millions of dollars worth of vehicles parked outside and, in the past,
we’ve had vehicles, tires and gasoline stolen,” Schwind said.
In addition, after a tsunami hit Hawaii in 2011, the county decided it needed
to expand its surveillance even further to monitor beaches and main highways
The county had been using analog fixed cameras and domes, but was unhappy
with the picture quality and performance. County officials also were looking for
day/night cameras that could be managed from a network. Due to the expanse of
the system, PoE cameras would cut down on cabling costs and make for a more
efficient installation. Initially, megapixel cameras were tested at two locations, but
county officials did not like the images they were getting in low-light conditions,
A Bright Solution
Together, Maui County and its integrator company, Security Resources, enlisted
the help of Don Coker, president of Seevid Inc., a manufacturers’ rep company
that helped the organization test out different products and determine which cameras
and systems best fit the county’s needs.
“They really helped us work out the deal with the manufacturers to put together
trial systems. It’s important to be able to try out these products,” said Patrick
O’Brien, chief executive officer at Security Resources.
Ultimately, county officials decided on American Dynamics Illustra 610 day/
night cameras from Tyco Security Products because of their performance in lowlight
conditions and their cost effectiveness.
“The decision was motivated by the ability to record and reproduce video with
substantially better resolution than we had previously,” Schwind said. “In addition,
the higher resolution allows for better coverage from a single camera position,
allowing us to protect more areas with fewer cameras. The high-definition
megapixel cameras also feature built-in face detection capabilities that the county
plans to leverage in the future.
Security Resources had the task of integrating the county’s surveillance, access
control and other systems onto one networked platform, a project that cost approximately
$1.5 million. Homeland Security grant money was used for the first phase
of the project, which included the day/night camera installations, as well as part of subsequent phases of the project.
“One of the key factors of the whole
system is having everything communicate,”
O’Brien said. “That started
with looking at the original system and
looking at new technology to tie everything
By controlling security from a centralized
location, the county also wanted
to provide the mayor’s office with a
video snapshot of what was happening
countywide, which a networked platform
can help achieve.
O’Brien said from an economic
standpoint, the American Dynamics
cameras fit into the overall system well
because their PoE capabilities decrease
cabling costs and they can be tweaked
and upgraded right from the network.
Auto-zoom and focus features allow
county security staff to adjust a camera’s
field of view right from the computer,
without having to climb a ladder
to adjust it.
“The county, like most customers,
needed the best products and technology
to meet their requirements at the
best price,” O’Brien said. “The county
can protect an area with fewer cameras
and with fixed megapixel cameras,
where they might have used analog
PTZ cameras in the past.”
No Longer in the Dark
Before to installing the day/night cameras,
security staff were not able to see
suspicious activity after dark.
“We had one incident where a golf
cart was being stolen in the dark, and
our old cameras showed only the headlights,”
Schwind said. “We couldn’t tell
who was on the cart or whether it was a
man or a woman.”
One of the benefits county officials
realized with the American Dynamics
cameras was their anti-reflection technology,
which, along with the low-light
capabilities, prevented blurred pictures
due to headlights or street lamps.
“Our new cameras provide a crystal
clear image that can help us identify a person
in a situation like this,” Schwind said.
Since the installation, the county
has put its cameras to the test. After
vehicles at one of the country’s parking
facilities were vandalized, county officials
identified a suspect from the highresolution
“This would not have been possible
with the previous cameras we had deployed,”
In the project’s first phase, 12 Illustra
610 cameras were installed outside
municipal offices, police stations, fire
departments, water department facilities
and golf courses. Other facilities,
such as the fire department headquarters
and new county construction projects,
are getting upgrades to high-definition
“There is no sense in having a camera
if you can’t view the image and determine
who is in the video,” Schwind said.
“For our needs, a day/night camera was
the only way to go to ensure proper surveillance
of the exterior of our buildings
and our vehicle storage
This article originally appeared in the May 2013 issue of Security Today.
Steve Carney is the director of product management at Tyco Security Products.