Bringing the Feeds Together
LAPD connects more than 400 distributed cameras from multiple organizations in California to secure high-profile international event
- By Andrew Elvish
- May 02, 2016
Held in Los Angeles, Calif., the 2015 Special Olympics
World Games (LA2015) was considered the single biggest
event in the city since the 1984 Summer Olympics,
and the largest sports and humanitarian event
anywhere in the world in 2015. The international event welcomed
6,500 athletes and 2,000 coaches, representing 165 countries. It was
estimated that more than 500,000 spectators and 30,000 volunteers
attended the Games.
Ramping Up Security
The sheer size and notoriety of the event had the Los Angeles Police
Department (LAPD) planning security and operational logistics long
before the opening ceremony.
“LA2015 was about inclusion,” said Commander Dennis Kato,
LAPD Planning Group, Special Olympics World Games Organizing
Committee, “The events were open to the public, and anyone was
free to walk into any event. The events were spread throughout the
cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach. This posed unique security
challenges for us, where we needed to rely heavily on cameras and
boots-on-the-ground officers for situational awareness.”
Among the LA2015 venues were the University of California, Los
Angeles (UCLA), and the University of Southern California (USC),
as well as other sports complexes and event facilities in Los Angles
and the nearby city of Long Beach. Each facility was already outfitted
with its own security center platform, which was managed by its
respective police and security forces.
Software Enables LAPD to Build
Unified Security Command Post
Based on guidelines of a national program called Incident Command
Structure (ICS), a plan was set in place to build a centralized command
post in a vacant police headquarters in the city of Los Angeles.
From there, existing cameras from these venues needed to be accessed
for live viewing and video review; but one challenge remained:
How could the LAPD connect the disparate surveillance systems at
each venue, and centralize the monitoring of the event from one unified
After discussions with LAPD’s major crimes division and a proofof-
concept demonstration, Kato knew that only one solution could
enable them to share video access and collaborate with various stakeholders:
Genetec Omnicast, the video surveillance system of Security
Center, and the Genetec Federation-as-a-Service (FaaS) capability.
Since many venues were already running Security Center systems,
the LAPD leveraged FaaS, a highly-scalable cloud service, to connect
their command post across the multiple sites and monitor over 400
video cameras. Installation of the service was easy as no on-site servers
were required, and the cloud-enabled Federation feature facilitated
a seamless connection across all the distributed sites.
FaaS Promotes Effective Collaboration
“It was the first time at a command post, where I felt I never needed to leave,” Kato said. “I had enough coverage to get a feel for what was
happening at each one of those venues. That’s truly why Federationas-
a-Service was such a pivotal capability for our operations.”
With Kato spearheading operations, the security command post
comprised one large, well-equipped monitoring room and more than
150 people from various municipal, state and national departments.
A massive video wall complemented five monitoring hubs that
were divvied up into a UCLA division, a Long Beach division, a USC
division, a Los Angeles Convention Center area division and another
division for other sports centers and event areas. At each venue,
a communication center also was in operation, where the LAPD
worked alongside local security and fire teams, an Olympic Games
committee organizer and other decision-makers.
LAPD Keeps Special Needs Athletes Safe
with Security Center
At any Special Olympics event, keeping track of athletes is a top priority.
Operators at the unified command post found Security Center
to be very intuitive, and were quickly able to pull up cameras upon
request and conduct forensics searches with ease.
“Normally at our command posts, we rely heavily on the radio,
but radio can only give you a verbal description of what is happening
on the ground,” Kato said. “With real-time video, everyone had a direct
view of what was happening and everyone was on the same page.
FaaS allowed us to pull video from our partners, which was crucial to
the security of the games as it ensured our command post operated
efficiently and smoothly.”
Controlling access to systems and maintaining the privacy of certain
cameras were key in forming successful partnerships among everyone
that was involved. FaaS enabled parties to define which cameras
were shared, which operators could access them, how far back
operators would be authorized to view recorded video, and what level
of control the LAPD would have over PTZ camera. As the LAPD
needed to be cautious not to overload the network at the command
post, they could also cap the video resolution when multiple cameras
were being viewed, helping to limit the bandwidth required.
Looking Beyond LA2015 into City-wide
Considering the success of the unified command post at LA2015,
LAPD is considering how a similar structure could benefit the city of
Los Angeles as they continue to upgrade their surveillance infrastructure.
Kato and LAPD also are particularly interested in equipping his
team with the Security Center Mobile app to allow officers to access
video from their mobile devices.
“Without this software and FaaS, I would not have been able to secure
the same level of awareness during the Special Olympics World
Games,” Kato said. “We were able to quickly setup a centralized monitoring
facility that connected us to the cameras across each venue.
This solution was instrumental in making our unified command post
work and without the solutions in place, we would not have been able
to function as efficiently as we did during those 12 days.”
This article originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of Security Today.