Springfield College Police Upgrade to Next-Gen VMS to Future-Proof its Security

Springfield College’s chief of police upgraded the VMS as part of a long-term project to harness the advances in surveillance and security.

Springfield College Police Upgrade to Next-Gen VMS to Future-Proof its Security

Springfield College looked to the future, while retaining a valuable partner from its past and present, with an upgrade of its video management system for the school’s 21-person police department that protects public safety on campus 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The college, which was founded in 1885, welcomes about 4,100 students, including 2,500 full-time undergraduate students, to its main campus in Springfield, Mass., and its regional campuses across the country every year.

Springfield College is also credited with being the place where basketball was invented.

Officers in the Springfield College Police Department (a.k.a. Springfield College Public Safety) are fully trained, and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They are bolstered by Community Service Officers (CSOs), who also patrol the campus on foot, cycle and cruiser and respond to medical emergencies when needed.

The backbone of the department is its Dispatch Center, located on Portsmouth Street, where a six-person team responds to calls from the 26 blue light emergency phones located around the campus, as well as to 911 calls that are forwarded to the center.

A network of 300 video surveillance cameras situated indoors and outdoors provides dispatchers and officers with visibility of the campus. These cameras enable the team to monitor areas and view situations in real-time to coordinate appropriate response. The camera system is managed and operated through a video management system (VMS).

Why Springfield College Chose Qognify

The college has been a Qognify customer for 15 years, but, until recently it was operating the Ocularis video management system (VMS) to manage its cameras and ensure video footage could be captured, stored, recalled and replayed by detectives, as part of their investigations and evidence gathering process.

However, with an eye on the future, Joseph P. Tiraboschi, the Chief of Police and Executive Director of Public Safety at the Springfield College Police Department, decided to upgrade the VMS as part of a wider long-term project to harness the advances in surveillance and security systems technology.

A review of the systems currently available on the market validated Springfield College’s decision to evolve its longstanding relationship with Qognify and upgrade to its next-generation enterprise-class VMS – Qognify VMS.

The process of switching to Qognify VMS is simple and organizations that are migrating from Ocularis can do so using an upgrade tool, which automates much of the transition process, transferring users, groups, permissions and views from the existing system to Qognify VMS.

The video system is central to the Dispatch Center’s operations, whether using a live video feed to coordinate a response to a road traffic incident at an intersection or monitoring suspicious activity on campus.

“We realized an instant improvement in the ability of our surveillance system to support day-to-day activities of our dispatchers, officers and CSOs to be more effective in their police work,” says Tiraboschi. “It is quicker for us to share video footage with Springfield Police, the Massachusetts State Police and the District Attorney’s office.

“Files that previously took several hours to download can be available on a portable drive within 20 minutes,” he says.

Since the upgrade to Qognify VMS, the department has extended the period it stores video footage on its two locally hosted servers from 14 days to 21 days. It isn’t only the speed of the download that has improved the evidence management process, says Tiraboschi.

“We can now synchronize footage across multiple cameras in one single high-quality video, so the District Attorney and court system have just one file to review, all the way through to trial,” he says.

What’s Next for Springfield College

The next phase of the project will see Springfield College public safety officials taking advantage of new features within the system, as well as new improvements in camera technology.

“We are looking at geo-locating our cameras on an interactive map, so that during an incident or investigation, we can quickly lasso an area and instantly be presented with the relevant footage from the cameras in the vicinity,” says Tiraboschi.

The college is also planning to upgrade to higher-quality cameras, enabling it to operate and maintain fewer cameras, expand the areas being monitored, and take advantage of new intelligent analytics capabilities.

This story originally appeared on SSI’s sister website, Campus Safety.

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