Alarm system helps city secure buildings
Overland Park, Kan., has installed an electronic access control system to prevent access by unwanted visitors in its major municipal buildings and to keep inmates secure. The C-Cure access control system from Boca Raton, Fla.-based Sensormatic Electronics serves more than 150,000 square feet of office space, including police stations and the city jail.
The main building, the W. Jack Sanders Justice Center, is a 70,000-square-foot facility constructed in 1996. About 250 employees work in the building, which houses the police department’s south patrol division and administrative offices, courtrooms, juvenile and adult detention cells, and booking areas. The security system also was installed in the following three buildings: * City Hall, which houses the mayor, the city manager, the city attorney and departments such as finance and planning. About 200 employees work there. * The police department’s Antioch facility, where 125 employees work. Located across the street from City Hall, the 30,000-square-foot building houses the dispatching center, records department, information systems department and north patrol division. * The Westgate police station, a 10,000-square-foot converted fire station where about 75 traffic- and animal-control employees work. The two primary functions of the new security system are restricting access to certain areas and sounding alarms in the event an area is forcibly entered. Bob Pledge, Overland Park’s manager of facilities and operations, says the new setup allows for better control of the buildings than was possible with conventional keys.
“It was getting to be a monumental task keeping track of all of those keys,” Pledge says. Whenever someone lost a key, he adds, it was necessary to change the lock and issue new keys to employees in order to maintain security.
With the new system, all access cards are programmed to allow individual employees entrance only to those areas necessary for them to perform their jobs. Cards can be altered, added to or removed from the system in minutes, says Ken Rodney, the city’s director of information technology.
If, for example, one of the 700 cards is lost, Rodney’s department can easily disable the card by accessing the computer software. Additionally, if a theft or other incident occurs in a room, the system records the date, time and cardholder I.D. number each time an area is accessed, thus making investigators’ jobs easier.
All information regarding entries and alarms is recorded on the system’s host computer located in the Information Services Department. A backup system also retains information and keeps an electronic access log in the event that the host computer were to fail.
Some 135 card readers from Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola have been installed in the four buildings, including 24 that are affixed to both sides of the steel doors on the justice center’s 12 detention cells. The city expects to save money by reducing its reliance on security guards.
In addition to card readers and alarms, the system incorporates a sally port that allows police officers to drive prisoners into the justice center without having to leave their patrol vehicles to gain access. As they approach the port, officers use their access cards to open an overhead door that automatically closes after they have entered.
Most of the three police stations’ inner chambers may be accessed only through a card reader, but each station has a lobby open 24 hours a day for citizens to enter. All other public doors are automatically locked at 5 p.m. and unlocked at 8 a.m. each weekday. However, the system’s dealer, Kansas City, Mo.-based CamDex Security & Film Corp., configured the card readers and software to enable city council members and others to access the building for evening public meetings.
The computers use a Windows NT operating system that can be expanded to handle gate controls, closed-circuit television and I.D. badging systems.