Technology Matters on Higher Level for A.M.E. Churches

“Although it is our job to design and provide meaningful security every day, this project has more meaning than any that come to mind,” says Dean Rommes, president, SNAP Integrations.

Technology Matters on Higher Level for A.M.E. Churches

The Emanuel Nine Memorial Courtyard (plan view): SNAP Integrations was commissioned to augment its original systems design to include new additions related to the memorial.

Recurring revenue and world-class service come in a variety of flavors and are often interrelated. Most see recurring monthly revenue (RMR) as the revenue generated from central station monitoring or other services on an ongoing basis. Although this is true, others experience it as new revenue that is generated periodically by way of providing world-class service to their video and access clients through updating and upgrading components and systems with the latest technology with an outcome of increased security and management.

Having the knowledge and confidence to recommend updates, upgrades and new systems when they become relevant toward enhancing, improving and providing increased security and safety is what sets security companies apart as trusted advisors. An example of this type of service that has generated recurring business for one security company is the relationship SNAP Integrations has developed with Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church. You may recall the horrific day of June 17, 2015, when a very troubled individual shot and killed nine members of the Charleston, S.C., church following a prayer service. Since that tragic day, many A.M.E. churches and buildings around the area were forced and continue to re-evaluate security and safety systems.

Back in 2015, Dean Rommes, president of local firm SNAP Integrations, was contacted by the Mother Emanuel Church within one day of the shooting to review and increase security. Almost immediately President Obama was scheduled to visit and it was essential to the Secret Service that the security system be installed and operational prior to his arrival. It was an enormous challenge to retrofit a new system while providing an aesthetically pleasing installation. With a tight timeline and staying focused on the aesthetics of historic downtown Charleston, SNAP Integrations completed the initial stages of the project, including 22 cameras, an alarm system and panic buttons, within a three-day timeframe before the president’s visit.

Protecting Not Only Church but ‘Entire Community’

Since then, SNAP has provided additional systems and upgrades for Mother Emanuel Church and other related buildings. Some of the upgrades included the installation of an Alarm.com-based access control system. To further help the cause, Alarm.com and SNAP Integrations donated a portion of the hardware and labor to complete the access control upgrade. As the normal course of updating systems were implemented, a new project surfaced with the long-anticipated announcement of a memorial dedicated to the victims of the 2015 shooting.

In July 2018 A.M.E. and Michael Arad, the designer of the 911 Memorial in Lower Manhattan unveiled a design for a permanent memorial dedicated to the victims of the Emanuel Nine massacre at the historic Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston. This project with an anticipated cost of $20 million has been embraced by many as demonstrated by the various early donors. The state of South Carolina is contributing $4 million; the city of Charleston has committed $2 million; Boeing pledged $500,000; survivor Polly Sheppard has donated $10,000. Others have promised or donated funds, and some grant money could be forthcoming.

While other upgrades in security were taking place, SNAP Integrations was commissioned to augment their original systems design to include new additions related to the permanent memorial. The design of this enhanced security system includes 8-megapixel Avycon cameras, the expansion of the Alarm.com access control system, broadening of the Internet connectivity, WiFi and cybersecurity. The design, construction and security of this long-awaited memorial will indeed feature world-class service on every level.

“Although it is our job to design and provide meaningful security every day, this project has more meaning than any that come to mind,” Rommes says. “In 2015 this historic church was not the only place that was attacked, it was our entire community and we will never forget that. This makes it extraordinarily important that as a company from this community, we play our part in assisting to protect this city’s cherished Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church.”

 

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About the Author

Contact:

Peter Giacalone is President of Giacalone Associates, an independent security consulting firm.

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