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Keeping inmates out of trouble with Axis

Keeping inmates out of trouble with Axis
Tired of camera failures and low quality images with an old analog surveillance system, the Grant Parish Sheriff’s Office sought out a solution that could bring its cameras back online quicker while potentially adding better resolution and quality to the images it was being fed. Knowing that there was a better solution out there, it was only a matter of resources to move on implementing new network cameras.

Under direction from the Director of IT, the Sheriff’s Office deployed a series of Axis Communications fixed cameras to include multiple with 360-degree views, setting itself up for a premium system without too many moving parts. A control tower commands the access control throughout the facility while also monitoring three monitors of camera streams, soon to be four.

Within minutes of putting up the first camera, staff identified multiple issues on site taking place. The Axis cameras have allowed the sheriff, warden and guards to maintain a safe and secure environment while being on the lookout for any incident that may have before fallen under the radar. PTZ capabilities of multiple cameras let the sheriff zoom in to activities as close as he needs when there is cause for concern and he may be off-site.

Standing guard in the Pelican State
Situated in the middle of Louisiana, Grant Parish is home to just a tick above 24,000 people across its roughly 660 square miles of jurisdiction. The sheriff’s office in the town of Colfax connects with multiple government facilities, including the detention center and other offsite buildings. Despite the shortcomings of a previous analog system, the sheriff’s office looked to Axis initially for video encoders to help get failing DVRs back up and running.

With a glimpse of success using the AXIS M7016 Video Encoders, the sheriff’s office began a replacement process to integrate new Axis network cameras into their system running on Milestone XProtect Pro. The initial call just to get the feeds pulling through again turned into an entire IP conversion.

Taking care of business
The feature areas of the detention center that calls for surveillance technology are the two main dormitories, which house about 50 inmates per space. Within those, there is a large open area with tables and the back half lined up with bunks for the inmates. AXIS P3225-LV Network Cameras throughout the facility give staff HDTV 1080p views of the ongoing activities while one AXIS M3007-PV Network Camera is deployed in the center of each dorm looking down, providing an array of views with its 360-degree capture.

“Everyone that sees the video has said the same thing, that it’s incredible how well we can see now compared to what we had,” disclosed Corporal Bryon Taylor, Director of IT of the Grant Parish Sheriff’s Office. “The video quality is just light years better than what we had. Also, the reliability, ease of use, ease of access to it. The Axis stuff is just top notch.”

Keeping results positive
Within minutes of installing the first Axis camera, staff identified contraband in the dormitory area. “We saw it easily with the new cameras,” noted Corporal Taylor. “With the analog equipment, inmates didn’t have to hide it at all. They even knew what we were doing but still didn’t think that the quality was as good as it was.”

Utilizing a control tower standing two stories high in the center of the facility, the live video and footage are viewed simultaneously by guards as well as by other individuals off-site. The sheriff, for example, streams video onto his cell phone and iPad while on the go, and pulls up the views on his desktop at his office without missing a beat.

“I’ve been able to play back data after complaints, or look back at incidents,” said Sheriff Steven McCain of the Grant Parish Sheriff’s Office. “It has been easy to use. We had a complaint about an inmate’s father bringing in contraband, and we were able to go back to the date and time to catch the guy bringing it into the facility. Before, we couldn’t be sure if somebody had something. Now, the pictures are crystal clear and have allowed us to do so much more.”

Remarking on the supplementary uses of the system, Sheriff McCain spotted an unforeseen function of the cameras as well. “Now the deputies know that we have the ability to watch them, too,” he said. “This was unanticipated; these cameras have helped to get rid of a level of complacency with staff as well.”

Looking around town
Beyond the dormitories, the sheriff’s office is looking to upgrade other spots to IP, like the lobby area. With a stream of cameras still surfacing over the Axis encoder, the plan is to replace all of those over time, allowing staff to centralize servers and make it easy to connect to the entire system. Further, the office would like to implement more outdoor PTZ network cameras along with a potential mobile deployment, as they had seen with the Sheriff’s Association in the State of Louisiana.

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