Protecting the ‘Knights,’ Day and Night
Kamiak High School’s “Fightin’ Knights” won’t take any prisoners when they are out to win their sporting events, but their school’s digital video recording system will, if anyone dares cross the line to crime.
The school, which is located near the Puget Sound just north of Seattle in Mukilteo, Wash., supports 2,000 of the Mukilteo School District’s 14,000 students.
The three-story main campus building is situated close to the street, with pathways that wind through protected wetland areas, leading to the athletic complex, sporting fields and other facilities.
Although the school had only experienced occasional crime on campus – mostly vandalism to the buildings and signage – school officials were nevertheless interested in the safety enhancements electronic security affords.
“We are in an affluent area, so we don’t have a lot of vandalism, property destruction or fighting,” says Jack Kniseley, assistant principal at Kamiak. “We had no system whatsoever. After the tragedy at Columbine occurred, the Mukilteo School District began to allocate more funds for security.”
Even so, it took nearly six years to get the right system purchased and installed. Slow-ups occurred, as the school district had to secure the necessary funds and hire a consultant to evaluate the school’s needs. In the interim, the typical turnover of staff also slowed the flow.
Dan Foster, facility operations manager for the Mukilteo School District, called on Sonitrol Pacific’s Everett office for advice.
“Just by design, the campus is difficult to monitor, with the wetland areas and other facilities,” says Foster. “Then you have parking associated with those different venues.”
Other challenges of the installation included scheduling issues, difficult cable runs and problematic card reader placement. The system delivered quick dividends by aiding in sorting out an auto accident during the testing phase and then helping apprehend car thieves shortly after going online.
School Selects Sonitrol to Add CCTV to Its Mix
The school had previously enlisted Sonitrol to install its audio detection intrusion system and an Advantage access control system. According to Kerry Goodwin, manager of Sonitrol’s Everett office, the system was effective for stopping break-ins after hours and controlling access to the building at other times, but there was no record of the vandalism and theft that occasionally occurred outside of the buildings.
The school had selected Sonitrol’s intrusion alarm system for the verifiability of each alarm and the proven reduction of false alarms over other comparable products. The Advantage access control system was primarily selected for its ability to integrate with the intrusion system.
Goodwin designed the expanded security solution to give Kamiak a combination of quality and cost, which provided the school with the best product available within its designated budget.
Project Calls for Digital and Wireless Video Surveillance
Goodwin proposed Dedicated Micros’ (DM) Digital Sprite 2, 16-camera digital video multiplexer recorder (DVMR) with 320GB of hard drive memory and a remote keyboard, along with a mix of Philips and Toshiba cameras.
DM’s DVMR was selected for its ability to provide intranet and Internet capabilities with a standalone operating system that doesn’t freeze every time the network computer or server crashes. In addition, it provides images that are admissible in a court of law.
“We install Dedicated Micros for its ease of use, network flexibility and embedded operating system,” adds Goodwin.
The recorder showed its first capabilities during a staff presentation of the not-yet-fully-installed system. While it was temporarily activated, recalls Goodwin, an accident occurred in the parking lot and was recorded. The images were later used to help settle a dispute about the cause of the accident.
Sonitrol installed Philips indoor color cameras with 2.810mm varifocal lenses and GBC covert-PIR color cameras. Outside, a Toshiba day/night camera with 5-50mm varifocal lens was installed as were several Philips outdoor black-and-white cameras with 5-50mm varifocal lenses. All had housings, heaters and fans to withstand the area’s subfreezing winter temperatures.
Two MicroTeck MiniLink wireless transmitters and receivers were installed to support two remote camera locations.
The wireless camera system requires line-of-sight reception between the receiver and transmitter, which required the receivers to be mounted on the rooftop. The day/night camera also required roof mounting to avoid potential vandalism.
Mounting the receivers and camera on the roof originally left exposed cabling, so Sonitrol subcontracted an independent cabling company to run the wire through conduit to protect the it.
Kamiak uses the Advantage Plus 3450 security control panel with battery back-up system for access control. It includes Advantor SmartAudio modules, loop expansion modules, impact-activated audio sensors and access control modules for central station access control management.
Nearly 100 Sentrol magnetic door switches were used to guard entry points, and access control is managed via HID’s ProxPro 2 card readers and access cards.
Nearly half of the cameras cover the school’s parking lots. Two satellite systems cover back campus facilities.
Security Contractor Overcomes Scheduling, Cabling, Reader Issues
Much of the installation was performed on a swing-shift schedule; beginning after school was out for the day to avoid conflict with student and faculty schedules.
The greatest installation challenge was running cable from the third-floor roof to the head-end equipment on the first floor, and providing raceways from the roof through two floors and from the west and south sides of the building to the north end.
Another challenge involved the placement of three proximity readers inside the building such that they would be capable of reading cards from the exterior.
School district personnel were concerned about vandalism to the readers if they were mounted on the exterior of the building, says Goodwin. Thus, mounting brackets for the proximity readers had to be designed and manufactured to enable an individual to present his or her card through the window glass for an authorized read to activate the access control system.
Cameras Help Catch Car Thieves Red-Handed
Since the installation, the school had one particular incident in which the new CCTV and recording system showed its true value.
“A group of kids [not students] came onto the campus after school and went into the Performing Arts Center,” says Kniseley. “They stole a girl’s purse, with her car keys inside, and stole her car.”
Kniseley explains they used one camera to see if anyone came out of the building. They located the student’s car, and because the girl who stole the car was wearing very distinctive clothing, they could easily determine that she was the culprit.
“We then backed up the different cameras until we found a girl in that clothing,” he continues. “We picked her out coming on campus after school. She talked to one of our students. We identified him and asked him who she was.”
Using the recorder’s playback capability, the school’s staff followed the group’s activity and watched as they drove around the parking lot, apparently clicking the victim’s key fob until the car’s lights came on. Once they knew which car was hers, they drove back to where their female accomplice was standing, gave her the car keys and pointed out the car. She was then able to walk right up to the car and drive off.
“We made a copy of the digital and saved it to a tape to send to the police,” says Kniseley.
The police later caught the group shoplifting in the mall later that night. The girl parked the stolen car in her own parking space at her apartment, whic
h made it eas
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