Integrated access control

East Los Angeles College's access measures have evolved to become the campus security backbone


Card access enables the college to quickly recognize new staff, add new or additional access areas, and delete access to areas that are not currently being used. The college can also remove access when a card is lost or shift access levels to a new card when a card is replaced. The college can usually complete all of these transactions within 24 hours. In comparison, making changes to an access system that only uses metal keys usually takes much longer.

"Card access provides a complete transaction record of every card presented to any of the card readers, whether the access is granted or not," Strinz says. "The history reports have also helped us to recover items removed from offices and storage areas. We have greatly reduced the number of items missing from these rooms."

Card access has helped ELAC not only improve security, but also save time and money. Strinz tracks the number of cards deleted from the system. According to his records as of April 2010, if the college still used metal keys for those rooms currently accessed with cards, ELAC would have had to replace 6,234,245 metal keys. With the money saved from the system's efficiencies, ELAC can apply limited funds elsewhere, including hiring more instructors and teaching more students.

"If a card is lost or stolen, we simply issue a replacement card and program out the missing card," Strinz says. "By comparison, the costs associated with issuing new keys and changing a lock is much higher, and the process is more cumbersome."

Future Expansion

Although ELAC currently only uses the access cards for physical access, time clocks and intrusion alarms, the college has also tested the contactless smart card for logical computer access. The system's open architecture database would allow interactivity with the Cisco network software used at ELAC.

ELAC is currently building three new facilities and rebuilding two existing buildings that will add more than 300 card readers to the access system. The new buildings, which will open this year, use Honeywell's PRO2200 and VISTA-128FBP panels.

This year, ELAC will add WIN-PAK client computer terminals to selected offices, including its IT department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's sub-station at ELAC. Through these terminals, personnel can monitor and control access activity by viewing floor plans and alarm popup boxes. The system enables personnel to remotely monitor, unlock and relock doors, and once networked video is installed, it will display video of these areas.

"The hardware and software upgrade paths have been very simple and helpful. We can also buy parts from a local distributor to do our own repairs, or contract out large jobs to local installers - another advantage of the system," Strinz says. "Given the additional service and, this system has already paid for itself many times over."