New & Improved

07/01/2003 |

Government Facility Updates Its Security System

Westchester County, located just north of New York City, is home to nearly one million residents. Two years ago, the county began making plans to update and increase security at its main center in White Plains, NY, but the terrorist attacks on New York City changed the timetable.

“Even before September 11, we felt that as the operator of governmental buildings, we needed to improve the security in and around our facilities,” says Salvatore Carrera, director of economic development, Real Estate, Westchester, NY. “After September 11, we listened to the warnings from federal agencies and changed plans that were slated to be implemented within a few years and moved them to the forefront.”

The county turned to a White Plains, NY-based systems integrator, Antar-Com Incorporated (ACI), which oversaw the installation of electronic security equipment to protect two county buildings and an adjoining parking structure. The process took less than four months, and by May 2002, the system was fully operational.

The system includes video surveillance cameras, digital video recorders, barrier turnstiles, X-ray equipment, intercoms, and metal detectors – all integrated through a C•CURE® 800 access control system and NetVue video integration software by Lexington, MA-based Software House, part of Tyco International’s Fire & Security Division.

The system protects the Michaelian Office Building (MOB), a nine-story facility that houses numerous county offices. The building is open to the public on weekdays, and the access system is used to automatically lock and unlock the public entrance.

Visitors are required to show a picture identification card. A public safety officer uses a driver’s license scanner to create temporary ID badges that are automatically logged into the system. Visitors are directed through a metal detector, while personal items, such as purses, are examined by X-ray. A temporary barcode badge is issued. When ready to exit the building, visitors are required to swipe their badges, which activate the turnstiles. The badges are logged out of the security system and immediately invalidated.

Employees also are subject to security and access control processes. The county uses a badging system to produce photo IDs for employees. The access system permits a variety of time, day, and area restrictions for each badge. Currently, the county maintains about 25 different clearance codes.

Employees may enter the building through specific access points, each requiring that a valid ID badge be read by a proximity card reader for entry. The system also includes intercoms located within the facility’s parking garage so employees can contact security personnel.

From the security control room, officers monitor the intercoms, as well as the access and video surveillance systems, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More than 70 fixed and dome cameras monitor the entrances, hallways, parking areas, and ground-level airway vents. All video is recorded on Intellex’ digital video management systems from San Diego-based American Dynamics of Tyco’s Fire & Security Division.

Carrera is extremely pleased with the way the entire security system has functioned. The system is fantastic,” notes Carrera. “It is a major deterrent. It turned out to be a much more sophisticated system than we had originally anticipated needing. But I feel confident we have done the best we can to protect our employees and citizens.”

Paul Piccolomini is president at Lexington, MA-based Software House, a division of Tyco Fire & Security (www.tyco.com), which designs, markets, and supports integrated security management systems.


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