Court System Surveillance Challenges

Author: Carlton Purvis, Published on Oct 21, 2013

Tyco Integrated Security is contracted to do all the installation, maintenance and monitoring for the court system of a major U.S. city. They watch and maintain around 1800 cameras across 180 courtrooms. We talked to an operator about the day to day operations of the system, what it takes to keep the cameras running and what the most common problems and crimes are.

Why Tyco Monitors the System

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Comments (16)

Love these articles! Keep it up Carlton.

Very interesting article. I have a question: "Tyco Integrated Security is contracted to do all the installation, maintenance and monitoring for the court system of a major U.S. city" using Bosch cameras? Why not Tyco products?

Fabrizio, it's fairly common that Tyco IS (nee ADT) sells / services non Tyco products. I am sure many inside would prefer to do so, but customers typically have enough power to push for their preferred products.

Thanks John. So could we say that it is fairly common mainly because the lack of quality in Tyco SP items?

Regardless of the products Tyco owned, there would always be many end users who would want alternatives. Beyond that, there are obvious gaps/limitations in Tyco's product portfolio.

Reason being is that Tyco is an INTEGRATOR not a MANUACTURER

Technically, Tyco is both, right? One division / subsidiary is an integrator (Tyco Integrated Security) and another (Tyco Security Products) is a manufacturer. It's the cross pollination between the two that many wonder / fear / dislike.

This is a great article.

It's disturbing to me that the hisghest usage of the system is used looking at cell phone theft. I wonder how much money could be saved by simply refusing people who have lost their phone?

Carlton, love the article, especially the "years of training" for BVMS4.5 ....

Thanks for article highlighting effective usage of technology. How is the control room staff monitoring 1800 cameras with manpower of 20-30.Are they using any analytics or other smart features.

Good question! Actually, I am surprised they even had 20 - 30 people. Is that total operator staff or is that per shift?

Even for 1800 cameras, I was guessing more like 2 - 5 people per shift, with a few high priority cameras being displayed live and others being brought up as people call in events (we have a complaint in room XYZ, etc.).

Carlton, let us know if you can share any color here.

I'll find out more about the analytics. They do have things like propped open door alerts and emergency exit alerts that call up cameras.

For monitoring, that is 20-30 people per shift and around than a third of that after hours. The reason for less at night is because their isn't as much maintenance and repair going on at night. And that 20-30 is not all Tyco people, but some are court officers as well.

1800 cameras, is this one building or the entire Federal Court system?

I have worked in many facilities on both the corporate side and the government side. I have worked for both large retail store chains that i did loss prevention looking for shop lifters, corporate security for a large bank with an active security operations center with over 130 sites with over 200 DVR's and over 4000 cameras and our SOC can not view 1800 cameras every day. I have also worked in the military at military SOC's and in 2 military prison's.

I just don't believe the 1800 cameras at one site and 20 - 30 people watching all cameras. They are not watching or monitoring all 1800 cameras. They are monitoring inputs line the door forced or door held alarms or the judges panic alarms and pulling up video for those alarm events. They may also be monitoring entry control points and prisoner transfer points. But they are not actively watching all 1800 cameras. And if they claim they are than they are either lying about it, and most importantly not being realistic. Even being conservitive and excepting the max offered at 30 operators, and assuming none are doing maintenance like they sugested they are also doing, that is 60 cameras per operator to monitor. Just how many monitors do they have in the operations center...... or just how small are the inidividual boxes and how many cameras on a single screen are up at one time.

this is just not happeneing at described.

"But they are not actively watching all 1800 cameras." I am sure they are not but are they even claiming that's what they do. I doubt any 1000+ camera system has people watching every camera at the same time. Big cities may have 10 zillion cameras but they most certainly do not keep an eye on every one at all times.

Tyco has different types of Video monitoring services to offer, so first better to identify what services are being taken by customer and then discuss how Tyco does it. Here is the Youtube channel of Tyco IS where many people commenting here; would see for the first time.

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