Welcome to the melting pot

The 'muni' market sizzles with diverse initiatives and partnerships

Currently Downtown Dallas Inc. is raising $32,000 to build out a new DPD Camera Monitoring Center. "We will configure the Center with six workstations with two 28-inch screens and several 60-inch Sony flat panel displays for large picture enhancement," said Cramer. "OnSSI is upgrading the system software with the latest video analytics."

Crime is down 18 percent downtown this year (2010) on top of a 32 percent drop since 2004. Camera center operators and the video system is catching more illegal activity.

Integrator expertise

BearCom, based in Dallas, has been the go-to integrator since the onset of the program several years ago. John P. Watson, chairman of BearCom, continues to work with Cramer and the city on its video surveillance initiatives. He specified the custom-built Mobile Command Center (MCC) funded by the Dallas Police Department and the private sector. The MCC integrates with the mesh network of downtown cameras and is used for rallies, tactical operations, disasters or even hostage negotiations, although Watson said the latter has not materialized.

The MCC is manufactured by LDV and offered by BearCom. BearCom partnered with LDV, Motorola, Firetide, Dell, Cisco, AgileMesh, Ratheon JPS, Panasonic, RGB Spectrum, Firecom, NEC and Tyco to specify the vehicle for the Dallas operations. BearCom is a nationwide dealer and integrator of wireless solutions equipment.

"For cities, the budget is a major challenge," said Watson. "Cities and municipalities have been hit hard with budget cuts, so the system solution has to show a good return on investment. It needs to provide safety and security for citizens and more technology to work with."

"Dallas gathers all its intelligence into one place, the Fusion Center, so analysts can study it," he continued. "They use all the simplest and more complex shapes and forms of voice, video and data to assist in their response."
Watson said working with cities and municipalities can be more challenging than other markets. "We view ourselves as vendor agnostic; we use the products that work best for our customers. You aren't going to find one manufacturer's equipment that does it all. You have to take a little of this and that to make it work. Public- private partnerships are definitely an evolution in safety that works.

The State of Fire Alarm Response

The Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), Frisco, Texas, headed by Stan Martin, executive director, continues to work with the industry, law enforcement and public and private sectors on more widespread acceptance for professionally installed and monitored security and fire alarm systems. SD&I tapped Martin to get his thoughts on the state of alarm response for cities and municipalities. Here's what he had to say:

"At the end of last year we heard from the president of the International Fire Chiefs Association that these departments are getting stretched. They are looking to close down fire houses, reduce manpower. These fire chiefs have to get more creative in responding to systems. Some departments may consider curtailing response, but so far there's been a lot of resistance from traditional fire chiefs. It will be an ever-increasing issue. The national associations ESA and CSAA have formed a task force to look at tackling false fire alarms just like traditional alarm systems."

"Fire is not the same as burglary. Unlike security systems the alarm industry doesn't hold all the cards; most of the changes will come through NFPA at the hands of the fire AHJs. On the security side we feel we have the solution. We are seeing cities with 90 percent success rate with lower false alarms that have adopted model ordinances; it's a matter of getting the word out."

Editor's note: SIAC is a not-for-profit that needs everyone's help. Visit www.siacinc.org and consider a donation of any amount.

Want More on Securing Cities? Head to Dallas

Sign up for Secured Cities, an exclusive Cygnus Security Media event, slated for September 29 through 30 in Dallas. Visit www.securedcities.com for more information on the event of the year that combines public safety and law enforcement sessions with technology. The event is co-located with the Enforcement Expo at the Dallas Convention Center.

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