MANAGING MULTIPLE SITES
Innovations are enabling the Montréal Police force to change its approach to law enforcement while advancing its own security.
With more than 80 department sites throughout the city including 49 community stations, officers work at multiple sites during a given week. As activities in the city change, more officers may be needed at certain neighborhoods and less at others. This approach to policing allows the force to assign officers where they are needed most.
“With our new (security) system, we are able to distribute the access control requirements by building more easily and to manage corporate access with only a few security personnel,” says Rhéal Masse, information system security manager for Montréal Police. The department has installed C•CURE 800, an access control system from Software House, a part of Tyco Fire & Security. “Our isolated approach to security became distributed with the new system,” Masse says.
Prior to implementing the C•CURE 800 system, Montréal Police used more than 40 different databases to control access at each site. The maintenance of these databases was timely, costly, and took 60 people to manage.
Other problems arose as well. Each police site operated independently, which made granting and provisioning access to the more than 6,000 card-holders an immense challenge. Until the upgrade, e-mail communication among security officers was the only method of granting security clearance to various sites. Even more challenging, once access was granted, it was difficult to remove a cardholder’s right to access a facility due to the decentralized system.
The process was confusing and problematic. Because of the multiple databases and decentralized security, a lost card became a security crisis, resulting in security personnel scrambling about the disparate sites to manually delete access from each system.
The police force’s top priority in a new system was the ability to grant and delete access privileges quickly and easily by means of a centralized database.
The Montréal Police force turned to Altel Inc., a security systems integrator based in Laval, Quebec, to help with its security systems upgrade. The company examined the police force’s need to manage multiple sites while granting privileges and provisioning security to facilities quickly and easily to individuals and groups.
“When dealing with multiple sites and many users — all with various levels of access — securing sites can be a difficult task,” says Bruno Deroschers, technical director for Altel Inc.
Altel recommended use of the C•CURE system to combine the more than 40 databases into one centralized database. The system enables staff to grant access to one site while providing the ability to immediately remove that access once the officer’s work is complete.
“Within any week, an officer might be assigned to a different site each day,” Masse says.
The system includes a paging feature that gives notification to the appropriate manager of any event that needs to be addressed.
For example, if there were a problem with temperature rising or falling at the transmission site, which holds a large tank of gas, the HVAC system technician would be paged automatically to resolve the problem. If there is an IT problem, the IT manager on duty is paged.
As the Montréal Police continue to innovate, they are crafting a plan of action for security crises. Montréal police are now exploring a plan to pilot the new system together with biometric technologies to create a mobile workstation where people are validated and granted access to more open areas.
When granting access to a crisis site, validating personnel can be difficult. By creating this mobile workstation where granting access has been planned and tested, the process can evolve more smoothly.