Getting It In Gear

Enterprising security director shapes a program to protect the Montgomery Hyundai manufacturing plant


As Larry Pugh has discovered, there’s no substitute for experience. Pugh, who retired from a 20-year career with the Montgomery (AL) Police Department, was hired by Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama as the Montgomery plant security manager in January 2004. The move to Hyundai followed a stint as the security director of Jackson Hospital, also in Montgomery. Pugh brought to the fledgling Hyundai plant the experience of recreating a security system for the hospital.

A Memorable Job
When Pugh took over the security department at Jackson Hospital, he found the equipment in bad shape. “The CCTV was antiquated, and there was no access control at all. There were two CCTV systems in place, but they were different, so they couldn’t talk to each other,” he said. “It’s like having a PC and a Mac—they’re both computers, but they don’t speak the same language.”

Plus, Pugh said, the hospital was still using time-lapse VHS recorders. “We had four recorders, but only one of them worked. Anytime I needed video, I couldn’t do anything with it. It was useless.”

In short, the system required a lot of improvements. Enter Larry Oliver, accounts manager for systems integrator Vision Southeast, based in Birmingham, AL. “Oliver came to see me,” Pugh reported. “He agreed to bring in his techs to do a complete survey of the hospital’s equipment and then give me a proposal. Basically, he spent a week doing free work.”

That week paid off. Vision Southeast arranged for a GE-built device called Probridge to be installed. “Probridge interfaces with the two camera systems and lets them talk to each other,” Pugh explained. Now the two systems could be controlled with one keypad, rather than the two sets of controls previously required.

Pugh then added delayed-egress access control to the hospital’s bag of security tricks. This system allowed a door to be held closed for 15 to 30 seconds to prevent someone from fleeing if necessary.

Learning from the Past
When Pugh made the move to Hyundai, he kept his successes at Jackson Hospital in the back of his mind. In early 2004, the vehicle manufacturing plant was just in the construction phase, the ideal time to start thinking about security.

A consultant came in to assess the plant’s needs and put together bid specs. When the bidding process was over, Pugh was pleased that Vision Southeast came out the winner.

“They’re very customer-service oriented,” he said. “Technically, they’re knowledgeable. And they’re quality-oriented in the installation. They leave it looking good, never shabby.”

The project was divided into two phases. Phase 1 was the hardware installation. Phase 2 was an extension, with additional cameras, plus access control needs that became obvious as time went on.

The surveillance system works on a fiber backbone, according to Vision Southeast’s Oliver. “Fiber optic cable goes throughout the plant to allow real-time viewing of all video in a central monitoring location.”

The Video IQ software package that is used at Hyundai “learns” what is supposed to be in range of a camera according to programmed parameters. A parking lot camera, for example, won’t be impressed when a car rolls by, but a person walking through will send an alert.

Foreign Trade Zone Requirements
Aside from the usual security requirements, the Hyundai plant has to meet the standards of U.S. Customs and Border Protection because it is a foreign trade zone. A company that imports products from another country, as Hyundai does from its home base of Korea, can either pay a tariff when the items arrive in the United States or it can be designated a foreign trade zone and pay the tariff on the assembled product. In other words, instead of paying taxes on the goods themselves, the company pays based on the sum of the goods.

Since the plant answers to Customs instead of local law enforcement, Hyundai’s security force is somewhat like its own police force. For that reason, evidence collection and preservation is vitally important.

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