Page 62 - Security Today, October 2020
P. 62

“We had a very robust set of technical specifications in our RFP, and the image quality, frame rate and light specifications of the cameras matched our requirements.”
By Thomas R. Cook
Safeguarding Public Schools
Cameras provide expansive security solution for Anaheim school district
Video Surveillance
Located just outside of Los Angeles, the Anaheim Union High School District (AUHSD) is a public school district serving portions of the Orange County cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, La Palma and Stanton. With an estimated 2,900 employees in 20 different facilities, AUHSD oversees eight junior high schools, eight high schools and one non-magnet, second- ary selective school, Oxford Academy. In total, it serves approximate- ly 29,000 students from grades 7 to 12.
Growing Security Concerns
AUHSD is one of the largest school districts in California, but despite its size and expanse, the district was lacking a robust security camera system and administrators did not have a way to monitor or document incidents on campus unless they were observed in person.
“Other than a few sites with some DVR-based systems, we did not have any security cameras,” explained Erik Greenwood, chief tech- nology officer for AUHSD.
Greenwood, who is responsible for all technology-related matters across the district including security systems, said that as the district continued to grow, so did the seriousness of some of its security issues.
Following several security incidents and school shootings at other campuses across the United States, and faced with mounting con- cerns from the community, the district acknowledged the need to improve security and decided to take action. The decision was made to strengthen its security infrastructure with a district-wide solution that would not only involve fencing and lighting, but also IP security cameras at its center.
Finding the Right Solution
In 2014, the school district received $249 million towards facilities improvements, including a new security system. Officials collaborat- ed with school principals and administrative staff to identify where cameras should be placed—such as gathering points for students and the buildings’ main entrances and exits. AUHSD also worked with local police departments to identify what they would like to see the camera system cover and what specifications the system should have should footage need to be turned over to law enforcement.
Once a plan was established, the district brought on California-based integrator HCI which recommended Hanwha Techwin’s QNV-7080R 4MP Network IR Vandal Resistant Cameras and Milestone’s VMS. The Wisenet Q series 4 MP cameras enable high resolution monitoring with clear images and the innovative hallway view feature maximizes the area of surveillance in narrow locations, such as school corridors. In addition, these Q series cameras are equipped with IR function, enabling clear, sharp images in dimly lit environment and during the night.
According to Greenwood, the Hanwha cameras were chosen as the key part of the system for several reasons. “We had a very robust set of technical specifications in our RFP, and the image quality, frame rate and light specifications of the cameras matched our require- ments,” he explained. In addition to their rich feature set, the camera configuration presented a streamlined solution.
“We didn't have a large quantity of different camera models which meant we didn’t need to keep stock of all sorts of lenses and other accessories,” Greenwood said. “The committee liked that approach from a troubleshooting and ongoing maintenance standpoint.” The vandal resistant features of the cameras were also a big factor in their decision process since the camera domes can easily be cleaned or swapped without having to replace the entire camera.
The installation process took about a year, but the process was smooth. Both Milestone and Hanwha visited the district, offering support, training and additional information. In fact, the entire proj- ect was collaborative. Not only within the district, but between the various departments in terms of meeting everyone’s needs and figur- ing out who would have access, what they should have access to and in identifying the points of integration.
There are now 1,250 Hanwha cameras installed throughout the district in entrances, exits, exterior restroom doors, staff work areas and in general meeting areas. They are helping the district keep eyes on campus vandalism, graffiti, potential threats and, in some cases, even monitoring certain personnel issues, such as inappropriate use of school equipment.
While no single staff member is responsible for monitoring the camera footage in real time, when an incident is reported, administrators can quickly access and review the security footage to see what happened. Using the camera footage, administrators can identify individuals involved and follow up with them for interviews to get the broader context. The camera footage is just part of the information that the district uses.
Looking Ahead
“It's been a great project that involved everyone — the new cam- eras have some great qualities.” Greenwood said. Now that the instal- lation is complete, AUHSD is taking a closer look to see where there may still be some blind spots and exploring where they might benefit from potential expansion.
Thomas R. Cook is the senior vice president of sales, North America, Hanwha Techwin America.

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