Littleton Public Schools to Improve School Safety
Littleton Public Schools (LPS), in Colorado, continues to roll out new cameras and 3xLOGIC hybrid NVRs as they move toward their ambitious goal of creating a district-wide, comprehensive Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) system. Upon completion, the new system will oversee and coordinate security for approximately 15,000 students and staff at LPS’ 28 school and administrative buildings.
“Our overall goal is pretty simple,” said Guy Grace, LPS Director of Security & Emergency Preparedness, “we must have quality technology delivering quality results, because we cannot have a successful educational experience without safety and security taken care of, and taken care of well.”
In late 2012, Guy Grace came to an important conclusion, “I was so frustrated with our DVRs that we’d been installing since the last bond issue approval. At first, they were meeting our needs, they could handle the PTZ cameras and motion detection, but over time the supplier started eliminating basic functions we needed. It was making our jobs harder than they needed to be.”
Around this time, Grace was introduced to 3xLOGIC at a tradeshow. “I found out the company was local and was doing real good things. I decided to learn more.” A few months later, LPS had another bond referendum. “We selected 3xLOGIC as a vendor for that bond issue, and in early 2013, we began purchasing NVRs and cameras. What I really liked was the hybrid NVR allowed me to incorporate existing analog cameras and add new IP cameras whenever I wanted. This is a life saver, because I can eliminate older tech and migrate to IP at my pace. This also allows us to have compatibility across all our schools, and that’s crucial.”
In December 2013, LPS suffered a fatal shooting at their Arapahoe High School. “The shooting caused us to expedite everthing and 3xLOGIC responded well to our sped-up timeline. Now, we have a darn good system over at Arapahoe High School.”
After the initial installation projects, LPS adopted 3xLOGIC NVRs at other school locations. As DVRs failed, they replaced them with 3xLOGIC. After another recent bond issue provided him with more budget, Grace moved to convert nine more schools to PoE. “I’ve got 29 miles between all of our buildings, so the cameras are our extra eyes. If you don’t have those extra eyes, you’ll have to count on luck to see all the things you’ve got to be able to control. All I can say is it’s been very positive from the get go.”
Once the entire project is fully completed LPS will have a total 1400 cameras, of which 780 are now installed. Grace expects the mix to be about one-third IP and two-thirds analog initially—demonstrating how vital the hybrid feature of the 3xLOGIC NVR is—and a full migration to HD IP camera sometime in 2017. Also, as the project has progressed, LPS has been increasing the proportion of 3xLOGIC cameras in the overall mix. “3xLOGIC cameras are very easy to install, and because the LPS staff does a lot of the installation work, that’s very important to us.”
“A full-fledged PSIM system is our end goal. We can bring a variety of systems that are non-proprietary—access control, VMS, fire detection, perimeter, mass notification, barrier protection/detection, and diagnostic systems—all together into one unified system. Technology has my back.”
Under Grace, there are 10 security officers. During the day, there are two technicians on duty with one security officer and Grace. “A PSIM allows us the flexibility to grow and expand, if needed we can have four operators at any one time in our control room. We have the flexibility to bring in people to deal with what is happening, what is needed. My staff needs to liaise with 145 users of the system across our entire district. We have to manage this system as efficiently as possible, so we train our people to wear multiple hats. It seems to be working, we have not had any staff turnover since 2010.”
“Every day there is something we use the video for, we should write a book. I’ve been in this business for 26 years, back in the day we’d have a burglary a week, now they’re few and far between. We do have several incidents a day—student discipline issues, vandalism, suspicious incidents…but this system is a huge deterrent and it’s helping keep our school community safe. Video surveillance is probably one of the best tools in our security system. With proper camera placement and video quality, we’ve brought vandalism down 75%+. Under our old system, we saw vandalism rates creeping back up.”
A total of 145 people have access to the video footage—secretaries, administrators and others will be using the complete digital system. At present, LPS is issuing those 145 users tablets with 3xLOGIC Android software to enable mobility and faster, more accurate responses. LPS is providing designated security and police vehicles with video feeds as well.
“The ease of use and the compliments we get have been a big improvement. That’s huge. You want it to be a positive experience so that people will use it. If we’re using it, then we’re successfully improving security on our campuses,” Grace concluded.