Two decades later, Bradford County Sheriff ’s Office continues to invest in security to ensure compliance
- By Mitchell Kane
- May 02, 2016
Home to 30,000 residents, Bradford County is a rural
community located 45 miles Southwest of Jacksonville,
Fla. that is committed to keeping the county a safe place
to live, work and play. The Bradford County Sheriff ’s
Office is mandated to protect its citizens and at the same time, safeguard
sensitive criminal justice information, such as fingerprints and
backgrounds from unauthorized exposure. Leveraging innovative
solutions to accomplish these goals, the sheriff ’s office replaced its
key-based system with a more advanced access control solution more
than 20 years ago. Over time, the county has expanded the Vanderbilt
Security Management System (SMS) throughout its main buildings
to ensure employee and public safety and privacy of information.
Keys to the Kingdom
Twenty years ago, the county replaced keys with the Vanderbilt SMS,
known at the time as the Geoffrey Access Control system.
“With the key holder system, we had no real way of tracking who
was accessing what and when,” said Christopher Hamer, network
administrator at the Bradford Country Sheriff ’s Office. “The access
control system provided a better way to control traffic on a need-toknow
When their existing access control system’s SQL server crashed
after many years of use, the sheriff ’s office officials decided it was time
to explore other options. Ultimately, they decided to stick with the
SMS system and contacted Vanderbilt, who connected them with an
SMS Certified Dealer, Cam Connections, a division of Protection 1.
A nationwide provider of custom-tailored security and loss prevention
solutions, Cam Connections’ mission is to provide unmatched
service while delivering electronic security solutions that are expertly
tailored to the specific needs of each individual client.
“Cam Connections fixed the problem in less than 24 hours,” Hamer
said. “Vanderbilt and Cam Connections gave us excellent support
and made us realize just how fortunate we are to have this system.”
According to Garret King, sales representative at Cam Connections,
Bradford County is committed to the platform, in part, because
of the team’s effort to continually reinvent it.
“Bradford County started out with the technology 20 years ago
and keeps it cutting edge to meet current and future needs,” said
King. “It’s amazing to look at where it started and where we are now.”
Card Readers and Access Control
To manage more than 250 active cardholders, 200 sporadic users and
900 daily transactions, the Bradford County Sheriff ’s Office has five
Vanderbilt SMS clients running on a Windows 2008 virtual machine
and installed 80 card readers to control access on both internal and
external doors at the sheriff ’s office and Jail, Narcotics Task Force
Office and courthouse. Cam Connections installed Allegion AD400
Series wireless lock sets to work in conjunction with the Vanderbilt
reader controllers. The county also added a reader to the vehicle gate
at the Narcotics Task Force Building for tighter access control. As the
system administrator, Hamer can add new users and update data in
real time and troubleshoot when necessary.
“I can also access the system remotely from home if there’s a failure,
a last-minute change request or to initiate a selective lockdown.
Dispatch staff at the sheriff ’s office and courthouse administration
use the alarm-monitoring feature from the SMS platform. I can handle
dynamic staff requirements and accommodate very liquid situations
in real time,” said Hamer, who added that managing users and
maintaining the cardholder database is also straightforward.
Hamer describes the solution as scalable and modular, offering
the flexibility to add new features easily and quickly. For example, he
is currently developing panic cards that will give specific users the
ability initiate a lockdown in an emergency with a swipe of the card.
“Vanderbilt and Cam Connections have been true life savers, especially
when we were at risk of going in too many directions,” Hamer
said. “Together, they keep us on track.”
The platform has helped the Bradford County Sheriff ’s Office meet
Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Security Policy requirements,
which specify what security precautions must be taken to protect
“By controlling access to certain areas, it helps us make sure that
all staff information is 100 percent protected at all times,” Hamer said.
Privacy of information is critical across the organization, but particularly
at the Narcotics Task Force Office where a great deal of information
about active investigations is stored. In addition, the elimination
of key holders has dramatically improved overall security.
“All access requests are documented and monitored and all areas
that need to be protected have card readers,” Hamer said. Use of
the Vanderbilt SMS has resulted in fewer breaches and better asset
protection. For example, at the Narcotics Task Force Office, a lot of
valuable equipment used in covert operations is stored and now protected.
“Being able to document access to all areas is an amazing advancement
over a key-based system.”
The Vanderbilt SMS also makes it easy for Hamer to add new users,
change access rights and amend functions in less time, particularly important
because there is a 10 percent user turnover each quarter.
“Replacing our Vanderbilt SMS with a comparable solution
would’ve required rewiring and rekeying all our doors at an exorbitant
cost,” Hamer said. “Reinvesting and growing our Vanderbilt SMS
was the smart choice.”
This article originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of Security Today.