Veterans Memorial Service
Lisa Morris of Cedar Park,
Texas, is the first to admit
that she is far from being a
security expert. There’s no
doubt, however, that she
is a loving mother and an extremely involved
citizen. Her son, Army Spc. Matthew
Morris, was among those Central
Texas veterans who gave their life while
serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In 2011, his mother, along with
several other volunteers, joined
forces with the Cedar Park Veterans
Memorial Citizens Advisory
Group to honor military
veterans who have given their
lives serving our country.
The group raised money
to build the Cedar Park memorial
that includes a sevenfoot,
bronze-cast statue of a
soldier inspired by Morris.
The black granite column
for the monument
15,000 pounds and
has a gray granite
base that is 12 feet
in diameter with six-foot-tall panels. The
statue is located in a somewhat secluded
and natural wooded area of the memorial
park. This makes the area quiet, but also
vulnerable to vandalism and even theft.
On a mission, Morris and her team
began making calls to local security
companies to explain the location of the
memorial and the unique environmental
factors. What Morris found was initially
However, after receiving a few similar
proposals, the group found Austin-based
Totus Solutions. Morris and the team
of volunteers were then introduced to
the company’s platforms. The platform
is an all-in-one, outdoor lighting-based
system that uses LED lighting, IP video
surveillance, multi-day media storage,
and an option of secure wireless communications.
The platform’s IP-based cameras
deliver complete situational awareness
of any site they’re placed on, from
memorial parks to public transit stations
to construction sites. The technology
means Morris and Veterans Park staff
can successfully secure the memorial and
circumvent traditional security systems’
flaws, where the cameras are ineffective
because they are not pointed in the right
direction or breaches in security are captured
after the fact.
Not only does the technology have the
ability to capture high-quality video of
what’s happening at a location—using a
360-degree fisheye, three-megapixel hemispheric
IP camera—but the system can
also discourage unscrupulous behaviour
with audio broadcasts and flashing lights.
Totus calls this event-triggered piece of
the security puzzle Active Deterrence.
Miller calls the technology peace of mind.
Active Deterrence technology uses
analytics-triggered lighting and audio
to draw attention to an incident. It has
continuous, 360-degree field of view and
recording to capture video and still clips
of on-site events. After park hours, the
system is triggered by unwanted events
inside a specified parameter or geo-fence.
When events are detected, the Totus system
flashes lights and plays a pre-recorded
audio message such as, “The park is
closed; you are under video surveillance.”
If motion is detected and the individual
proceeds, the event is escalated. The system continues, “Security has been
called; video clips are being emailed to
the police and city employees.”
A veteran himself, Bill Kreger, a senior
consultant with systems integrator
ASG Security, was honored to be involved
in this project. He believes that
the active deterrence capabilities of the
system, as well as the 360-degree, IP
cameras, made this system a clear choice.
Working with the Cedar Park Authority,
Kreger determined the optimal
viewing angles for the cameras. He
wanted to clearly capture video of the
stairway, the pedestal and the monument.
The “open book” design of the
technology allowed Kreger to precisely
illuminate the areas that are most vulnerable
with only two light-based systems.
Along with Morris, Kreger was
happy not to interfere with the carefully
crafted aesthetics of the memorial. The
IP cameras are powered by the embedded
PoE network hub.
Kreger placed two surveillance platforms
about 22 feet above the two main
walkways to the memorial. He also positioned
the system to keep a clear line
of sight with the park’s pool house;
Wi-Fi radios were used for wireless network
connection to the city’s wide-area
network. Kreger also installed an omni-
directional wireless transceiver for
sharing electronic data. Once the city
was able to open the appropriate ports,
images and video could be recorded
and stored on the internal SD card, as
well as sent over the secure network.
Another feature of the security platforms
is that the lighting can be programmed
to dim at night. And because
they use LED technology, the lighting
system saves up to 70 percent energy
versus legacy streetlights. By setting the
light-based system to 25 to 50 percent
brightness at night, even remote areas
have greater security and higher levels
“The 360-degree surveillance capability
of Totus technology itself is like
having 16 cameras in one, so we only
needed two systems total,” Kreger said.
“The software is designed to evaluate
the picture and show it to be vertical
and horizontal, depending on what section
you want it to look at. You can tilt
the image to whatever size you want,
which just isn’t possible with other systems
Kreger and Morris are happy with
the results of the security platforms
to date. Although they realize warmer
summer months ahead will translate
to more activity at the park, with the
technology in place they are hopeful
and confident vandalism will be discouraged.
Six months after the system
has been up, no damage has been recorded
at the monument site and the
bronze soldier statue remains as it
should—luminous and left in peace.
This article originally appeared in the June 2013 issue of Security Today.