Phoenix police secure sporting events with Milestone Systems

Phoenix police secure sporting events with Milestone Systems

Cross-City Challenge

The Phoenix Police Department was tasked with creating a security solution for two major national sports events taking place in early February 2015. The solution required coordination with multiple cities and government agencies. These sporting events drew more than half a million people into the Phoenix/Glendale/Scottsdale area. A flexible solution was needed for this combined effort to manage the crowds, minimize incidents and keep attendees safe.

Connected Video Solution

Working with a grant from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other funding sources, Jason Tyre, a member of the Phoenix Police Department, Homeland Defense Bureau and Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC), headed up a team that devised a comprehensive security solution. Milestone XProtect video management software (VMS) was at the heart of the operation and different versions of the VMS were already deployed at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, the Glendale Civic Center, and connected to various camera systems in parts of Phoenix, Glendale and Scottsdale.

Tyre and his team based operations at the multi-agency coordination center (MACC), a dedicated command central where his team monitored cameras, sharing information with federal authorities, transit officials, city and county police, fire departments and other security officials. Tyre and his team used the camera feeds to enhance each agency’s situational awareness and provide real time information to managers that allowed them to make better decisions to mitigate and manage incidents. There was a dedicated network fiber path between Phoenix, Glendale and Scottsdale, which Tyre and Phoenix PD Sergeant Anthony Jones cite as a critical factor in facilitating the flow of information among the cities and agencies.

Open Platform Puts All Camera Choices in Play

In deciding on a software platform, the Phoenix Police Department put flexibility at a premium. In devising this comprehensive security solution, the police department would be working with a variety of camera vendors, so Milestone’s ability to integrate with the widest choice of device brands and models was a critical factor.

“We buy cameras based on cost, functionality and warranty,” Tyre said. “The airport, civic center and other locations were all using different cameras, so we needed to feel confident that they would all integrate into the unified software system without any hassle.”

Mobile Web Access Help Centralize Security Ops

The Phoenix Police Department purchased a pilot test license for Milestone Interconnect to connect the disparate Milestone systems and cameras and pipe them all into the MACC. Tyre said Milestone was able to recognize that the police department, airport and civic center were running older versions of the software that did not support Milestone Interconnect and quickly rectified the situation for the final installation.

According to Sergeant Anthony Jones, a critical piece of the operation was the ability to use web applications on a mobile server.

“This feature of Milestone was enormously helpful,” Jones said. “We could push video places so you could login on a mobile server instead of a client. We never had to install applications on a third-party computer. We just used an external IP address, which meant we never had to give up our login information.”

Each municipality had its own command post, with numerous people working during each shift. The command posts were able to effectively communicate with security managers on the ground to help respond immediately to incidents.

“The men and women at each command post could do the job of a whole bunch of people on the ground,” Tyre said. “We tracked all sorts of incidents downtown, and provided our people with real-time info on exactly the best course to mitigate a situation. With this allocation of resources, we were able to locate individuals and assess things quickly and effectively through the Milestone interface to the cameras.”

Tyre and his team also had a product that allowed them to monitor real-time calls for service. They were able to locate police vehicles across the entire security perimeter.

“We could plot camera locations throughout the area,” Tyre said. “When we click on a camera view in Milestone, we immediately see the video feed from that location. It was really useful.”

Ease of Use Helps Large Teams Get Up to Speed Quickly

Jones said MACC security shifts ran about 10 hours, with two to four Milestone users at any given time on site. While many security personnel on the team were familiar with Milestone, there were others who needed to be trained. Jones said these trainings went smoothly and quickly.

“We had very few issues with anything related to training,” Jones said. “We gave some people crash courses on changing and manipulating angles on the pan-tilt-zoom cameras and changing views in XProtect Smart Client. For others, we simply pre-created views for them. We spent minimal time re-training personnel, which was a big help.”

Milestone Mobile Capabilities Assist with Huge Crowd Issues

During the week of the events in downtown Glendale, the city of Phoenix hosted a variety of activities including musical performances. These shows drew thousands of people, and since most events happened on two main streets, the result was a significant crowd buildup.

“We were dealing with a variety of incidents such as pickpockets, lost children, alcohol-related violations and suspicious packages,” Jason Tyre said. “The ability for our people on the ground to look at video on their phones and iPads and react instantly - or in some cases before an incident had even happened - was a huge advantage for us.”

With the cooperation of Verizon and AT&T expanding the frequency and spectrum in the area despite a high foot traffic volume, the Phoenix Police Department was able to stream up to 20 hours of high quality video per day. This allowed the MACC to examine big-picture scenarios and keep mobile security personnel updated on situations as they were happening in real time.

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