School District Unifies Its Security

A Southern California school district seeks to overcome a DVR-based analog surveillance system and its poor video streaming and playback, and contend with unwanted guests gaining access to its campuses. Find out how Culver City students are becoming safer thanks to a new and integrated IP video and access control solution.

<p>Since installing the Arecont Vision SurroundVideo panoramic cameras in hallways, the district was able to identify two students accused of committing an act of violence on another student.</p>However, the technology wasn’t the only reason why CCUSD chose to deploy the NLSS Gateway. The other two companies that Yant met with wanted to charge expensive licensing fees and Next Level did not.

“Traditionally, licensing fees is recurring revenue for the manufacturers and the integrators,” Sanchez says. “We see it like this: that part of the industry is going to die out in the future. We want to make an affordable solution where users don’t have to pay the licensing fees. We do have an add-on service to our system, but it’s completely optional.”

To install the access control solution, Bowcut suggested CCUSD hire San Diego-headquartered integrator SDA Security, a Next Level authorized dealer.

Started in 1930, SDA Security provides access control, fire alarms, intrusion detection, video surveillance and monitoring to more than 7,000 clients. With a second office in Riverside, Calif., SDA Security, which serves an 80% commercial client base, operates its own UL-Listed central station. The company’s president, Shandon Harbou
, is also a member on SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION‘s Editorial Advisory Board.<p>San Diego-based SDA Security installed ASSA ABLOY

The district began the access control installation at the high school in June 2011, shortly after installing the NLSS Gateway. SDA hired a subcontractor, in addition to its two-man technician crew, to install the access solution in the two gyms at the high school. Because SDA’s integrators typically don’t carry a large amount of parts on their trucks, the company asked a local locksmith it often subcontracts with to learn the ins and outs of installing the v.S1 locks.

“The lockset that we were dealing with is fairly specialized, and it’s not readily available sitting on a shelf,” says Kevin Domene, branch manager for SDA’s Riverside office. “Knowing that we’ll use our locksmith for service and repair, we wanted them to have an understanding of the product.”

It took some time for the subcontractor to get a handle on the installation, but once they did, the installation was seamless, Domene says.

Up next, CCUSD will install the electronic locks at the middle school gyms, Frost Auditorium and the district office. When funds allow, Yant hopes to deploy access control locks at all computer labs in the district.

Upgrading Video Surveillance

Following the installation of the electronic locks, Yant decided to install new megapixel cameras himself at all district locations in July 2011, while students were out on summer break. “I have a background in computers and networking, so doing Cat-5 cabling and connecting to network switches isn’t too complicated for me,” he says.

Working with a CCUSD electrician, Yant installed Sony SNC-DH160 network high definition (HD) infrared (IR) mini dome cameras on the outside perimeters of each campus. Additionally, he added Sony SNC-DH110 HD mini dome cameras and Arecont Vision SurroundVideo panoramic cameras in hallways, classrooms, gymnasiums and computer labs.

For the most part, the job was easy except for running the cabling, Yant says. “We ran into old facilities, and it’s hard to run cabling and not have it exposed. There was no crawl space in some of the ceilings to run the wires. The easiest route would have been to run the wires across the rooftops, but we didn’t want to have it exposed to the elements.”

To overcome this challenge, Yant secured wires across ceilings using tie-wraps, as well as hiding cables inside classrooms by drilling them through multiple walls.

There are now more than 100 megapixel and analog cameras — tied together by Axis Communications video servers — throughout the district. Yant also replaced eight CRT monitors at the district’s video control room with six LCD monitors and trained security personnel on how to actively monitor the cameras.

“One of the cool features about the NLSS product is that it allows us to zoom in on live and recorded video, which we couldn’t do before,” Yant says.

The NLSS Gateway allowed Yant to create floor plans for each school that shows where every camera is located. Using the NLSS Remote Management Services (RMS) for remote accessibility and system management, CCUSD also provides remote access to CCPD to allow police to view the school’s system from their station, vehicles and mobile command posts. By utilizing the floor plans, CCPD can also view live video feeds of a specific school building to prepare a response to a critical incident.

“I wasn’t just thinking as a security director when I installed the system, but as a police officer responding to schools in the case of an active shooter or some other critical incident,” Yant says. “From a tactical perspective as a responding police officer, it narrows my area of focus down to one section instead of me having to go through the entire campus.”

If the Gateway should malfunction, Next Level will replace the unit within 48 hours, Sanchez says.

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