Va. Port Authority to Impove CCTV, Access Control

Surveillance cameras and ID systems focus of $4 million security project funded by DHS grant


The Port Authority announces how it will spend a $3 million federal grant.

A surveillance system upgrade and card reader technology for a new worker identification program were financed this week with a $3 million federal grant to the Virginia Port Authority.

The money from the Department of Homeland Security will cover about 75 percent of the $4 million tab for the two projects, with the authority to pick up the $1 million remaining.

The surveillance system upgrade includes better video camera monitoring of local marine terminals and a better way to alert security if a perimeter or gate is breached.

"We're updating to today's technology," Port Authority security director Ed Merkle said.

"In the last five years, security systems have significantly improved in their capabilities, especially in the area of electronic monitoring."

The access control systems, meanwhile, are needed to meet requirements of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, a coming federal security system for port workers.

The authority -- which runs container terminals in Norfolk, Portsmouth and Newport News -- had applied for $4.4 million in grants.

But a $1.4 million plan to update the authority's preparedness plans and training wasn't financed.

Including the Port Authority's $3 million award, Hampton Roads got a total of $3.93 million in grants Thursday from the department, up from the previous grant of $3.55 million a year ago.

Among the remaining $930,000, the Portsmouth Police Department got $396,963, the Virginia Beach Police Department got $450,000, Valero Energy Corp. got $53,390, and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries got $24,030. *