Government Contracting: Success Story - Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center

In addition to nearly 30 judges, more than 1,400 people work in the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center. The complex features a four-story courthouse facility and a 12-story office building that includes a data center. On any given day, 500 or more visitors pass through one of two secure entrances to conduct business.

Officials have crafted an integrated security system that includes access control, surveillance, duress and visitor management united under a sophisticated security management system. “Without question, this is the most advanced security set-up in any court building in Colorado, and perhaps in the country,” says Steven R. Steadman, Director of Court Security for the Colorado Judicial Branch.

Steadman performed the security assessments and oversaw the installation of the integrated security system by St. Louis-based Guarantee Electrical Contracting, which also installed the structured cabling, CATV, data, network data, fiber optic and completely built the data center. In fact, a Guarantee Electrical employee from its Denver branch office works full-time within the facility to ensure all systems are operating efficiently.


The System’s Backbone

AMAG Technology’s Symmetry Homeland Security Management System (SMS) provides the access control and backbone of the integrated system. The SMS, access control and video surveillance is monitored on-site by the Colorado State Patrol, which also provides security officers and Troopers for the building.

The SMS enables security staff to schedule automatic locking and unlocking of exterior and some interior doors to provide enhanced security. “We use the Symmetry Homeland SMS to regulate where folks can be in the building,” Steadman explains. “Access to justices, judges and the courtroom are controlled by the SMS, as well as all back-of-house areas like the loading dock and garage. It effectively and efficiently keeps them separated.”

The building cannot afford security downtime, so NEC Fault Tolerant (FT) servers ensure the SMS is up and running continuously. The servers provide complete redundancy for all of the system components, including the motherboard, CPU, RAM and power supplies. It uses a proprietary lockstep technology to keep all of the duplicate system components completely in synch. This lockstep technology ensures that the redundant CPUs are executing exactly the same instructions. Because redundant components are completely in synch all of the time, there is no interruption in processing even if a component fails.

“Symmetry Homeland SMS was the right choice for the Ralph Carr building,” says Mike Anthony, Guarantee Electrical’s Project Manager. “They are thrilled with all the functionality.”


Visitor Management

The facility’s two main entrances feature metal detectors, x-ray machines and optical turnstiles to ensure employees and visitors are properly screened before entering the building. The turnstiles are equipped with readers to enable employees to enter without going through the metal detectors or having x-ray screening; however, officers keep close watch to ensure that the person using the access card is the same person entering the building. Electronic card readers are installed in elevators and enable employee access only to authorized floors.

AMAG’s SMS integrates with HID Global’s EasyLobby Secure Visitor Management (SVM) system to register visitors and give them access to predetermined floor levels or areas where they are allowed to go. The software can read the magstripe on a driver’s license, which pre-populates the input fields and provides the name and address of the person — thus expediting the badge creation process.

A temporary barcode badge is issued and the visitor is granted access to the designated floor and lobby. The barcoded visitor badge is activated through EasyLobby’s integration with the Symmetry SMS to allow for specified access. Eight HID Global multiCLASS readers stationed in the office tower and elevators contain a barcode reader as well. Visitors must swipe to gain access to pre-determined areas. Once the visitor enters the lobby of the tenant they are visiting, they are escorted throughout their space.

“There are many unique aspects of integrated security at work in this building,” says Mike Anthony, Guarantee Electrical’s Project Manager. “The SMS makes it easy to bring all of the functionality together on a single platform.”



Cameras have been deployed around the full perimeter, in corridors, entryways, freight elevators, parking facilities, data center and communications room. AMAG’s Symmetry Video Management system integrates with Milestone XProtect Corporate 5.0 to provide video management and archiving.

Approximately 285 Axis megapixel cameras are stationed throughout the building, and 20 indoor/outdoor cameras have been enhanced by integrating real-time video analytics capabilities provided by Agent Video Intelligence (Agent Vi). On these cameras, Agent Vi’s real-time detection software, Vi-System, detects suspicious objects, unauthorized entry into secure zones and loitering, and generates alerts that are displayed in both the Milestone XProtect Smart Client and in Symmetry. The Colorado State Patrol respond to these alerts in real-time, enabling immediate response to security breaches as they unfold.


Future Expansion

The building plans to add 40 card readers, and expand the system to an off-site six-story parking garage that originally had a different access control system. Users will need to swipe their badge to enter and park their vehicles.