Company Running Temporary Security System at L.A. Landmark


A company that specializes in temporary security installations is helping to protect a Southern California landmark while it is being renovated. CPS Security Solutions, headquartered in Gardena, Calif., has been providing constant video surveillance and monitoring of the construction site in and around Los Angeles’ Griffith Observatory.

The space museum and planetarium, which sits on the Hollywood Hills, is undergoing an extensive renovation that began in late 2002 and won’t be complete until May 2006.

Unlike most electronic security companies, CPS specializes in temporary video security and alarm installations that protect commercial and residential construction sites, as well as special events such as parades and sporting events. The focal point of a typical CPS installation is its mobile surveillance units (MSUs) that feature digital color cameras, motion sensors, floodlights, full on- and off-site recording and wireless technology in a weather-proof trailer that is monitored from CPS’ central station.

Despite the unique application, Kathleen Sowder, vice president of CPS’ eCamSecure division, says her company’s customers demand the same from them as the customers of traditional alarm firms. “The fundamental obligation to protect is the same – to protect people and property,” says Sowder, a 28-year veteran of the security industry who previously held positions at ADT and Westec. “I spent many years in traditional security. This is the future of the business.”

CPS, a Bosch Security Systems dealer, uses Pelco cameras extensively as well as products from Samsung and the 21-megapixel SentryScope cameras from Spectrum of San Diego. None of the CPS installations are built to last – most are put up and taken down in a span of months – but they do have to be able to take more wear and tear than a typical system and are capable of operating between -40 and 180 degrees. For that reason, CPS makes its own DVRs that are able to take the various vibrations at construction sites.

Because of the need to maintain equipment, the sole job of some of CPS’ 2,000 employees is to regularly clean installed devices. Post orders change daily and CPS makes an active effort to correspond and provide service to its customers daily. “The care and feeding function part of this business is truly unique,” says Sowder, who adds service has played a big part in CPS’ success. “We would be dead in days. We have to do it.”

A construction site could potentially be a shopping mall for criminals, who could steal doors, windows and appliances before wiring has been installed. Even those authorized to be on-site could perpetrate crime, as evidenced in one case where CPS equipment caught a hot tub company that would deliver the Jacuzzis by day and try to steal them back at night. “When monitoring, you have to have a sixth sense of when it has to be there and when it doesn’t,” says Sowder, who adds criminals have been seen going so far as to look right at CPS cameras before going ahead with their crime. “We have video that can go on ‘World’s Dumbest Criminals.'”

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