Albuquerque City Surveillance Relies on DVTel IP Surveillance

DVTel, a provider for the development and delivery of intelligent security solutions over IP networks, announced that the City of Albuquerque, New Mexico has standardized on the DVTel intelligent security solution to manage their ambitious, and growing, city-wide IP video surveillance project. SCI is the integrator partner on this long-running project installation and its continued rollout.

Presently, approximately 300 cameras, managed by the DVTel system, monitor facilities throughout the city ranging from the downtown City complex to solid waste facilities to a ground-breaking Family Advocacy Center. However, years before any surveillance system could be rolled out to today's multiple locations, there first had to be standards.

Daved Levine, President of SCI, described a long-term partnership between his company and the multiple city departments that developed slowly over time in an effort to create a set of IT standards and procedures. Mark Shepherd, Director of Security, City of Albuquerque, said the challenge that faced him and at project inception, “We have 6,000 employees, 18 different departments, 800 city-owned buildings spread across 400 square miles, and every department has their own budget and their own priorities. A key success factor for us was to set mandatory standards for all of our departments. Every department has their own ideas, their own cameras, but nothing talked to anything else. Now, if you're going to place a camera or an access reader on the system it has to go through our Technical Review Committee and conform to the established standards for all software and hardware.”

One of those standards for video surveillance is DVTel. “Unless it's DVTel, you cannot buy it,” Shepherd said. For access control, the City of Albuquerque has settled on Software House as the standard. Shepherd continued, “I was very impressed with DVTel the first time I saw it at the National Archives in Washington DC.”

The expanding Albuquerque installation is already quite impressive for all the buildings and areas that have been brought under surveillance. The heart of the project is in the center of the city where cameras monitor the downtown City Complex, which includes the City Plaza with a performance stage, a pedestrian mall, select city buildings, and a nearby hotel. In addition, the main dump, solid waste, and recycling facilities are monitored both to improve safety and to provide a video review of operations. Along with all of these locations, the DVTel system also manages camera input from cash transactions at the city, county recycling, treasury offices and select other city payment offices. Albuquerque's water processing and wastewater facilities are also under video surveillance. Future plans call for expanding surveillance from the current buildings and areas to community centers, museums, parks and recreation areas, and the federal and municipal court complexes.

One of the more interesting and ground-breaking facilities under surveillance is the city's Family Advocacy Center. In partnership with the United Way, Albuquerque now houses all “family advocacy” organizations, as well as police and legal resources, under one roof. Shepherd described it as, “Quite a sophisticated system, it's a one-stop shop with everything and everyone you need to investigate and prosecute a case such as child abuse, all housed in one location.” The DVTel system monitors the interview rooms and is integrated with two-way audio, so that there is a record of all the activities and discussions that go on in the Family Advocacy Center. There is standard video surveillance and access control security for the building as well to ensure that it is a very secure facility.

For all the different locations and different departments involved, the DVTel system provides partitioned video access so that each department can monitor their own video, while all video feeds are also monitored and recorded in a number of other locations around the city for back-up and support.

Along with the hundreds of fixed cameras, the City of Albuquerque has established a mobile command unit, using a DVTel mobile client and a wireless hotspot, so that police can monitor activity in the entertainment district where there can be upwards of 10,000 people out and about on the streets patronizing the many bars and restaurants.

There is also a DVTel-managed surveillance system, numbering more than 300 cameras, at the Municipal jail facility and at a city and county coop prisoner transfer station. While the city is still involved with the transfer station, the jail has reverted to county control.

As Albuquerque continues to grow and further integrate their video surveillance and access control systems, they are experimenting with additional applications. A recent installation monitors open space in a rural area outside the city, which is isolated but still used by residents who value their natural open spaces. In a trial implementation, one camera was installed on a high tower with a wireless feed back to a city building for police monitoring.

Typically, video is managed by each department and is also sent, via network, to remote monitoring locations. The eventual goal is to develop a true command and control capability that centralizes all resources and all video, access, and alarm data into a single location that monitors public streets, buildings, and open spaces.

“We see video surveillance as a great tool for our police, to enable them to respond quickly,” Shepherd said. “It's our hope that these cameras will allow us to intercept a problem before it happens.”

While project roll-out and further integration is on-going, a recent incident illustrates the power and the potential of the DVTel system. Some weeks ago, a person came through the downtown corridor and “tagged” about 10 buildings. Shepherd related how staff “fired up” the video and “sure enough we pick him up on the sidewalk and saw him tag (spray graffiti on) two buildings. We tied the angles from multiple cameras together to follow his progress, eventually to an apartment building where he swiped in. We had the time he swiped in from our video, so we could go to the building management, check their records, and ID him. The system is paying off, the more we use it, the happier our staff and our citizens will be.”
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