Courthouse Under Watch
The Parker County District Courthouse in Weatherford, Texas, began using the DX-TL5000U digital video recording (DVR) system by Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America, Irvine, Calif. in October 2004.
David Smedley, owner of David Smedley’s Commercial Asset Protection Systems, consulted Parker County on choosing the product. He provided the courthouse with several options for upgrading its system, he says. “We chose the DX-TL5000U because of its crystal-clear imaging and reliable hard drive,” Smedley says.
Smedley installed the previous video system, which included CCTV that used videocassettes. The new Mitsubishi DX-TL5000U is connected via coaxial cables to 16 cameras installed in strategic locations throughout the County Sheriff’s offices and two large courtrooms in Parker County District Courthouse. The cameras feed into the main control room, and the video is stored directly to the computer.
The new system integrates to the network and records based on motion. “The user interface is easier and makes it easier to interface to our network,” says Jeff Bergt, network administrator for Parker County. “We have the capability to monitor activity not only from inside the courthouse, but from any location on the Parker County IT network. The remote access capability saves time because our IT office is located two miles away. We no longer need to travel back and forth from the courthouse to maintain the security system.”
Officers from the Sheriff’s Department view the camera feed via two monitors at a central security station.
An interactive training guide CD bundled with the DX-TL5000U has enabled officers from the Sheriff’s Department to become familiar with the features of the DVR, including the ability to set picture resolution instead of allowing just one slow recording speed or one global setting for recording across all inputs.
“It is a more efficient machine,” Lt. Ray Wright says. “My officers have a view of what’s happening every minute in the courthouse. People pay more attention to what they are doing. It is a wonderful piece of equipment and makes the job easier.”
“The DVR makes recorded images easier to archive and retrieve,” Wright adds.
This system was chosen because of its digital recording abilities, including the capability to keep memory longer, and the clearer pictures and audio, he adds. In the future the system could be expanded to more county buildings, especially other court buildings.
The Mitsubishi DX-Tl5000U offers recording speed of up to 960 frames per second for live images and 240 pps recorded and allows for 16 video inputs, each of which can be set individually. Other features include expandable storage capability, multiple copy options including a built-in CD/DVD and advanced networking features.
The Parker County District Courthouse is the town’s original post office. It was renovated in 1999. This building holds the district attorney’s offices, district clerk’s offices and 415th and 43rd judicial offices. The U.S. Post Office was built in 1914 and houses 26,314 square feet. The district courthouse is located one block east of the town’s main courthouse square.