Oregon Justice Center Upgrades Access Controls

Sept. 23, 2006
TAC I/NET system adapts to changing needs of law enforcement facility

SAN DIEGO, ASIS International – September 25, 2006 – Multnomah County, Ore., has completed the installation of an upgraded and reconfigured access control system at its Justice Center in downtown Portland. The two law enforcement agencies that share the facility leveraged their investment in the existing access control system from TAC, a world leader in security systems, building automation and energy solutions, in order to upgrade the system's capabilities and have separate control over their individual areas in the building.

The 16-story Justice Center houses the Multnomah County Detention Center and the Portland Police Bureau's Central Precinct and administrative offices. Previously, both law enforcement agencies shared a single TAC I/NET system for building access control. Each agency used its own host computer, which was part of a LAN that communicated with 27 separate door processing units (DPU) handling access control at the Justice Center.

Although the Sheriff's Department and Police Bureau enjoyed a long-standing, cooperative relationship, the time had come for each agency to have its own access control system. The county hired Engineered Control Systems (ECS), a TAC partner based in Spokane, Wash., to reconfigure the existing systems and to upgrade the software and hardware to address the specific needs of each agency.

ECS faced a variety of challenges during installation and reconfiguration of the Justice Center's access control capabilities. For instance, escorts and background checks were required for anyone entering the area that housed the detention center. Furthermore, downtime was not an option in areas with continuous operations or those involving prisoner transport or movement.

ECS merged the databases from the Police Bureau's seven precincts and the Justice Center, which included 28 separate groups and more than 2,700 different individual records, and installed TAC's NetPlusâ„¢ routers in each precinct. Today, the Police Bureau uses a single computer located in the Justice Center to issue access cards for that facility and the outlying precincts.

The Sheriff's Department asked ECS to merge its detention center database with those at two other locations, its Wapato Corrections Facility and Inverness Jail. This involved more than 25 separate groups and 2,350 different individual records. ECS also upgraded all the department's facilities to TAC I/NET with NetPlus routers.

The Sheriff's Department now issues I/Disksâ„¢ to correctional employees for all three facilities from a centralized location in the Justice Center. Although the satellite facilities each retained a host computer, ECS used file equalization to allow both sites to view transactions and generate reports about their own facility.

"Multnomah County no longer worries about system downtime or lost information," said Dean Meyer, president, TAC. "And with separate databases, both law enforcement agencies find the new arrangement less cumbersome to manage."

"The system training and self-maintenance capabilities have given a huge advantage to a 24x7 electronic shop," said Aaron Wilson, head of Multnomah County's electronic maintenance group. "We are incredibly pleased with the robustness and reliability of the TAC system."