A Known Leader
Implementing an all-in-one solution to protect staff and students
- By Willem Ryan
- Jul 01, 2016
With 19 schools serving 11,800 students from preschool to
grade 12, the Liberty Public School (LPS) district in Clay
County, Missouri is the second fastest growing district in
the state. As one of the most progressive districts in Missouri,
LPS has become a known leader in school safety,
implementing comprehensive policies and state-of-the art security technology to
protect students and staff.
SAFE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
At the heart of its Safe School initiative is a controlled electronic entry system that
runs on the Avigilon Access Control Manager (ACM) software and is integrated
with the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system for a complete, all-in-one security
platform that effectively and reliably ensures a safe learning environment
The challenge was to deploy an integrated access control and video surveillance
system to protect students, staff and assets and create the safest learning environment
Liberty Public Schools (LPS) centrally manages its access control and HD video
surveillance system using ACM and the Avigilon Control Center (ACC) software
with high definition stream management technology.
ACM is paired with Mercury hardware and readers at the main entrances of all
22 buildings. LPS installed 300 Avigilon HD 1 MP and 2 MP cameras and uses analog
video encoders to boost the performance of its existing analog cameras. The
school district stores at least one week of continuous video surveillance footage.
Previously, LPS used a competitor’s access control system and IP video management
software, and a variety of analog and IP cameras, to control access and
monitor its facilities. However, when the U. S. recession hit, the district was forced
to bring system management in-house to cut costs.
“We couldn’t keep paying the high support and licensing costs associated with
our old system,” said Curt Laven, technology specialist at Liberty Public Schools.
The district set out to find a more cost-effective, Web-based access control solution
that could integrate with the high-definition surveillance system and other
IT systems for central management. Before installation, LPS only had one license
from another manufacturer on a dedicated workstation, so only one person could
manage the system.
“This solution allows us to centrally manage building access and video surveillance
from any location while giving administrators at each building visibility into
school activity without having to invest in steep licensing fees,” Laven said.
SEARCH 10 TIMES FASTER
For search and playback, the ACC software is also incredible easy to use.
“Previously, we had six DVRs, so we would have to search through all of them
separately to try to piece together the chronology of an event,” Laven said. “ACC
lets us conduct a search 10 times faster than before and then easily export video to
DVD for police investigation.”
Laven can also quickly bookmark events and store them indefinitely for future
investigation. Local police have been impressed with the system’s image quality
“We have been able to deliver court-ready evidence in several cases.”
TIME AND COST SAVER
Because the integrated access control and high-definition surveillance system is so
easy to use, Laven has been able to save a lot of time on daily tasks. For example,
he was able to switch over from their old system to the new solution in less than an
hour per building, with virtually no outages for users.
“I used to spend four days each year rebooting our old DVRs due to daylight
savings time, but now I can update the entire system from my desk in just minutes,”
said Laven, who uses the time saved for other more proactive tasks. It is also quick
and easy to scale servers to meet future needs. “It is so easy to add new servers,”
Additional cost savings are achieved because LPS was able to consolidate all its
servers onto just one rack, reducing space and energy consumption.
The fact that ACM integrates so seamlessly with the ACC software was a big benefit.
“With access control systems and more than 900 surveillance cameras across 22
facilities, we needed an integrated and centrally manageable solution,” Laven said.
The entire system is managed in the data center using the ACC software with
High Definition Stream Management (HDSM) technology. ACM is paired with
Mercury Security hardware and readers at all main entrances. LPS installed a total
of 300 HD 1 MP and 2 MP cameras and analog video encoders to boost the performance
of its existing analog cameras.
“We’ve seen a huge jump in image quality since deploying the Avigilon encoders,”
The district is required to store one week of continuous surveillance video, but
often surpasses this amount.
“The surveillance system delivers efficient bandwidth use, especially compared
to other HD cameras, so we can store the footage we need,” said Laven. “For
example, one camera pulls 1.5 MB of data per second on a windy day, while a competing camera in the same situation
pulls 3 MB.”
Laven installed the new access control
and surveillance system, from card
readers to HD cameras and encoders.
“Even without any training, it was
ridiculously easy,” Laven said. “By
handling installation in-house, we were
able to reduce our costs.”
The fact that ACM integrates seamlessly
with the district’s IT systems, such as
Active Directory, was high on the list of
“The ease of integration is a true
game changer,” Laven said.
Before, individual accounts, roles, and
policies were not synchronized across all
network appliances in real-time, creating
an administrative headache.
“One teacher had three different accounts,
cards and photos because we
didn’t have a central way of managing
our data,” Laven said.
Now, when Laven removes someone
from Active Directory, it updates
in ACM as well, ensuring a much more
accurate and up-to-date system.
By integrating with Active Directory,
Laven can centrally manage access
privileges to IT systems and building
doors based on assigned user roles to
ensure administrators never see more
than they need to.
AN EASY BUTTON FOR SECURITY
As an all-in-one solution, the system is
easy to manage and support. Offering
one platform instead of multiple technologies
trying to work together, LPS said it
makes system management so easy.
For example, using auto-focus,
Laven can refocus camera lenses remotely
with the click of a button, instead
of having to physically work on
each camera. Laven said this is a giant
easy button for security.
Another key requirement of the new
access control system was that it be
able to support open field hardware
from various manufacturers. By working
with our existing card readers and
control panels, the school saved installation
time and reduced infrastructure
costs. The Avigilon team was also able
to quickly solve a problem with the
district’s old door readers to make it
work with ACM.
A DREAM SOLUTION
The access control and high-definition
surveillance system gives LPS the variety
and quality of video evidence needed
to respond quickly and efficiently to
incidents before an incident becomes
This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of Security Today.