Atlanta Serves as Case Study for Municipal Video Surveillance at ASIS Session

City’s public schools and police department rely on OnSSI’s Ocularis for integration among video surveillance systems for heightened situational awareness and enhanced public safety.

Atlanta ― One of dozens upon dozens of presentations at this year’s ASIS show was “Atlanta’s Model for Citywide Surveillance to Enhance Safety.” Ken LaMarca, vice president of sales and marketing for OnSSI, moderated a panel consisting of officials from the Atlanta Police Department (APD) and the city’s public schools. Most of discussion focused on the Atlanta Public School System’s (APS) deployment of OnSSI’s Ocularis video-centric PSIM (physical security information management) that enables the APD to access surveillance cameras at the schools for improved situational awareness in the event of an incident or emergency.

The IP video surveillance solution is part of APS’ initiative to upgrade its older analog cameras on an ongoing basis. Officers in the Video Integration Center (VIC) monitor the police department’s radio system, located in the same site as the emergency 911 system, so that Atlanta police are immediately aware if an emergency situation arises at one of the APS facilities. Operators are able to access cameras in that school to assess the situation and determine what, if any, response is needed. In the event of an emergency situation, dispatchers can continuously relay information gathered from the video to first responders to provide immediate situational awareness to assist in the response.

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“Being able to relay real-time situational awareness about what is happening inside a school to those in the field improves the effectiveness of the response. In addition, it ensures the safety of both first responders and those who are inside the school,” said APD Lt. and panelist Leanne Browning. “The ability to push live video to our mobile command vehicle and allow those in the field to control the cameras and move them as needed is a powerful tool for mitigating the situation as quickly and safely as possible.”

The system has also proven effective in nonemergency situations. Prior to implementation, the district faced a number of copper thefts from HVAC systems at schools. Thanks to the presence of cameras, motion detectors and increased lighting in previously vulnerable areas, the number of thefts has dropped dramatically.

“The issue of safety in all schools is one that I consider to be very important,” said panelist Olufemi Aina, executive director, IT Infrastructure & Production Services, APS. “The fact that the APD 911 Call Center now has the ability to quickly access our video cameras to provide tactical support to officers real-time [in an emergency] is something that I think all K-12 schools should consider or aspire to achieve. Being in the front seat of an initiative that impacts our kids in such a manner is personally satisfying.”

The VIC also enables the APD to look in on other public Atlanta areas, including the Georgia Aquarium, CNN Center, Hartsfield Jackson Int’l Airport and Centers for Disease Control.

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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