Integrated Security System Simplifies Surveillance for K-12 District

A unified GUI allows schools to monitor multiple AV systems at a time.
Published: July 11, 2014

When the intrusion detection system at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional Schools began to fail, the Massachusetts-based district took the opportunity to upgrade its existing security systems to create a fully integrated solution that ties together IP video surveillance, access control and intrusion detection systems. Dennis-Yarmouth Regional schools brought in systems integrator Signet Electronic Systems Inc. to complete the project.

The district’s security solution is powered by Genetec, a platform they transitioned to about two or three years prior to this installation. In the past, Dennis-Yarmouth Regional Schools had a security system that operated in disparate pieces. Now, each of the systems talks to one another, resulting in a safer and more secure learning environment.

“From one graphical user interface, the end user can see video and access control and that is coupled with intrusion detection,” says Greg Sparrow, director of Project Management, Signet Electronic Systems.

For Nick Pasquarosa JR., school resource officer and a member of the Yarmouth Police, the new technology means better surveillance coverage. When you’re responsible for protecting 224,000 sq. ft., that’s a pretty exciting prospect.

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“The fact that I can monitor all the exterior doors through the access control system is pretty exciting,” he says. When somebody opens a door that is not on the access control system, but only on the burglar alarm system, it’ll signal to the pan, tilt, zoom cameras to spin around and take a picture of what’s going on at that door.”

When Dennis-Yarmouth Regional school first installed security cameras they had an old analog system that did not have the ability to capture video. “I had to borrow a VCR from the AV teacher and a color monitor so we could use the system effectively,” says Pasquarosa.

The district has since migrated to IP video surveillance, but several old analog cameras are still in commission. In order to capitalize on the existing equipment, Signet connected the analog cameras to IP video encoders, which convert the analog signals to IP. During the project, Signet also installed new high-resolution video surveillance cameras and 360-degree viewing high-resolution cameras at the high school. Originally, the plan was to build what Pasquarosa calls a “hub” at the high school that would serve as the brain of the district’s security system. Then access control and surveillance cameras from the outlying schools would be tied in.

“We’ve been trying to achieve that goal for several years because we haven’t had a steady flow of money for the project. Access control is present everywhere through Genetec and it is all controlled through the high school over the network, but the cameras are a different story,” says Pasquarosa.

The district is hoping to tie the middle school cameras into the system this summer and then focus on the elementary schools. All of the video from the cameras will be managed locally at the sites, but is available through Genetec.

Regardless, the integrated security system has simplified the process of monitoring school grounds and, according to Pasquarosa, has taken over a portion of the workload when it comes to surveillance.

“It’s a lot of space to cover and it’s good to have the technology doing some of the work for us.”

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