On-Net Surveillance Systems, Inc. (OnSSI) announced that the Atlanta Public School System (APS) has implemented OnSSI’s Ocularis video-centric PSIM (physical security information management), enabling the Atlanta Police Department (APD) to access surveillance cameras at the schools for improved situational awareness in the event of an incident or emergency. The highly efficient and cost-effective IP video surveillance solution is part of the school system’s initiative to upgrade its older analog cameras on an ongoing basis.
“This application leverages Ocularis’ ability to create a collaborative environment so that law enforcement can improve awareness and response to unfolding events,” said Gadi Piran, president, OnSSI. “This cooperative approach to security between these two separate entities has the potential to greatly improve safety and security at the city’s public schools.”
Officers in the Video Integration Center monitor the police department’s radio system, located in the same site as the emergency 911 system, so that Atlanta police are immediately aware if an emergency situation arises at one of the APS facilities. Operators are able to access cameras in that school to assess the situation and determine what, if any, response is needed. In the event of an emergency situation, dispatchers can continuously relay information gathered from the video to first responders to provide immediate situational awareness to assist in the response.
“Being able to relay real-time situational awareness about what is happening inside a school to those in the field improves the effectiveness of the response,” said Lt. Leanne Browning of the Atlanta Police Department. “In addition, it ensures the safety of both first responders and those who are inside the school. The ability to push live video to our mobile command vehicle and allow those in the field to control the cameras and move them as needed is a powerful tool for mitigating the situation as quickly and safely as possible.”
The system has also proven effective in non-emergency situations. Prior to implementation, the district faced a number of copper thefts from HVAC systems at schools. Thanks to the presence of cameras, motion detectors and increased lighting in previously vulnerable areas, the number of thefts has dropped dramatically.
“Now that we have replaced most of our analog cameras with IP, we have all of the benefits of HD managed by OnSSI’s VMS technology,” said Charles Johnson, building integration/systems programmer with APS. “We can simply add new cameras to our management server and they are automatically added to the base servers. This also has helped us save costs since we can utilize multiple camera manufacturers.”
“The issue of safety in all schools is one that I consider to be very important,” said Olufemi Aina, executive director, IT infrastructure & production services, Atlanta Public Schools. “The fact that the APD 911 Call Center now has the ability to quickly access our video cameras to provide tactical support to officers real-time (in an emergency) is something that I think all K-12 schools should consider or aspire to achieve. Being in the front seat of an initiative that impacts our kids in such a manner is personally satisfying.”
Representatives from OnSSI, Atlanta Public Schools and the Atlanta Police Department will present a case study on this project at ASIS at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, September 29-October 2. A panel discussion on Wednesday, Oct. 1, from 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. will provide an in-depth look at how video management software has enabled the integration between the public schools’ and police department’s video surveillance systems to increase public safety and security.