Post Alarm Systems of Arcadia, Calif., is contracted to overhaul and expand the CCTV system at the s

Sometimes, even God needs a little help. At the world-famous Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif., that help has taken the form of its staff and Post Alarm Systems of Arcadia, Calif. Thanks to a new CCTV system—installed by Post and monitored by the ministry’s security personnel—the safety of visitors and their place of worship is ensured, through not only being watched over by divine powers, but Earthly ones as well.

Believers might say Post Alarm was destined to install and service the complex’s 46-camera system. Indeed, it was a chance meeting with the brother-in-law of Crystal Cathedral Director of Security Dale Walters that eventually led to Post landing the job, beating out three other bidders. However, a more pragmatic view would be that it was Post’s more than 45 years of experience, attention to detail and professionalism that made it the obvious choice.

In any case, whether it was fate, simply good business, or a combination of the two, the alliance has resulted in a mutually beneficial relationship in which both the client and the security provider are equally thrilled. Achieving that level of success required Post to work around the cathedral’s busy schedule, solve transmission and power problems, and leave the venue’s architecture unblemished.

Crystal Cathedral Attracts Up to 1 Million Annual Visitors

The striking Crystal Cathedral is the crown jewel of the Crystal Cathedral Ministry, which was established in 1955 when Dr. Robert H. Schuller began conducting sermons from the rooftop of the Orange (Calif.) Drive-in Movie Theater’s snack bar. Opened in 1980—with Schuller’s dedication, “To the glory of man for the greater glory of God”—the cathedral has become the ministry’s home base.

Facility Takes New Approach to Security

In the early 1990s, the high level of activity at the Crystal Cathedral began to raise Schuller’s concern about the well being of staff, schoolchildren and visitors, as well as the safeguarding of original pieces of art and statuary. Although there had not been any significant incidents, the cathedral’s urban environs made crime a legitimate threat. So, management decided to follow the lead of other nationally recognized ministries and pastors to enhance existing security.

Unique Vehicle Delivers Eventual Sales Lead

One of the four companies bidding for the job was Post Alarm. It was an unusual course of events that brought Post into the picture, however. The company participates in many community and nonprofit events, appearing with a restored 1951 Ford Ambulance to answer questions regarding life-safety issues. A couple of years ago, while displaying the attention-grabbing vehicle at a car show, a dialogue was struck up between Post Executive Vice President Kirk MacDowell and another car enthusiast.

“His truck was absolutely gorgeous and, at the end of the conversation, I gave him my business card,” says MacDowell, a 20-year veteran of the life safety/security alarm industry. “As fate would have it, he liked either the car or me—personally, I believe it was the car—enough to give my card to his brother-in-law a year and a half after I had met him! That brother-in-law was the security director for the Crystal Cathedral, who called me and asked if we were interested in bidding on the project.”

Dealer Generates Proposal, Wins Cathedral Job

According to MacDowell, compared to the unorthodox method of generating the lead, the sales process was fairly traditional. MacDowell included Post Vice President of Operations Ted Willie in the initial meeting with Crystal Cathedral Security Director Dale Walters in early June 2000.

Post Alarm Begins Working on CCTV Project

Willie assigned David Thomas, field supervisor for Post, as the lead person for the installation based on his nearly 20 years of alarm industry experience.Once Post got involved with the project, it became apparent that its scope was greater than originally thought.

Workarounds Conquer Video, Power Problems

Like most commercial installations, the Crystal Cathedral offered several challenges and obstacles unique to its particular design and structure. One of those impediments was finding a way to communicate video information from campus buildings that were located away from the main security console.

46 Cameras Are Installed Throughout Complex

The installation began on Sept. 1, with a completion date of Nov. 15 to accommodate the Crystal Cathedral Ministries’ busy holiday season festivities. Pelco models were chosen for all the PTZ applications, while mostly Sanyo cameras handled the fixed-camera situations.

Dealer, Client Reap Rewards of Relationship

It’s a tribute to Post Alarm’s expertise and its emphasis on building a rock-solid bond with its customer that the Crystal Cathedral project came off so smoothly. In fact, Post is set to expand the system when a new five-story Visitor’s Center is soon completed.

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