Security Mag: Smaller Facilities Face Large Hurdles

March 31, 2009 | Coverage

Security

Evansville Airport Leverages 3VR for Efficiency and Improved Safety

By Erin J. Wolford

Although a small airport, the Evansville Regional Airport must comply with all TSA requirements, which was the catalyst for the search for a new video surveillance system.

As a non-hub commercial airport, with 268,000 annual enplanements, Evansville services three brand name airlines, American, NorthWest, and Delta, and offers regional jet service to six hub cities. The airport services 1,200 passengers per day and daily foot traffic in the terminal is around 2,000 people per day.

They were looking for a security system that would help take the burden off the operator. Easy searching and finding of relevant video footage was a big ticket concern for them.

Special Constraints

The Evansville safety department includes aircraft rescue and fire department, as well as security, monitoring the airport and taking action when necessary.     

Gene Olson, assistant airport manager, was responsible for finding the right system for the airport. “I’m in charge of day-to-day operations at Evansville Regional Airport. This includes airfield maintenance, managing the airport safety department including the fire department and airport security, and building facility maintenance. Additionally, I manage airport construction and I have a large role in development, including the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) funding and selection process for our security programs,” said Olson.

Olson had specific constraints that affect the smaller facility. “Smaller scale airports have fewer resources and less staff to manage the wide range of critical functions that we face on a daily basis. For example, at Evansville, our airport safety staff performs double-duty as both our security team and our fire-fighting department. That said, we’re a busy airport, and our security team doesn’t have a dedicated employee who watches security video screens. A small-scale airport’s security program needs to function on less, and thus, operations must be particularly time- and cost-efficient.” 

The Right System

Following the London Train Bombings, Evansville took a particular interest in finding a more advanced surveillance system. “The event brought the importance of superior video surveillance to the attention of our board, which directed us to look into a better surveillance solution. We evaluated several proposals in our search for a video surveillance supplement that would significantly improve our existing security operation. Our choice wasn’t hard to justify. It was by far the most technologically advanced and feature-rich solution that we had seen, and was priced competitively to fit within our budget. The other systems proposed were just basic DVRs, none offered searchable surveillance capabilities,” said Olson.  

The Evansville Regional airport has 27 cameras set up on one server with one remote tie-in to the server. There are several access control systems in which employees swipe ID cards for access clearance. They use the video solution as a supplement to access control.

In order to get PFC funding for security programming, all solutions are required by the TSA to support passenger screening, and the airport’s video surveillance supports both access control and passenger screening. “The airport’s investment was lower because the FAA determined the 3VR system we chose to would be eligible for PFC funding,” said Olson.

Surveillance cameras are pointed at critical doors along with any weak points and vulnerabilities. Additionally, the solutions help security staff keep an eye on trip and fall accidents in stairwells. Viewing behaviors when the accidents happen plays a big role in liability protection. Face recognition on all the entrance doors captures faces of everyone.

“The part of the system we use the most is the video search, particularly the monitor function. The system allows us to search and find relevant video footage quickly, thereby providing our personnel with valuable time to devote to other critical security functions. The fact that the system only stores motion significantly increases our video storage capacity, which frees up storage space that would otherwise be occupied by static video footage,” said Olson. The system was more than adequate as a justifiable expense.

Quicker response time, time- and money-saving search capabilities, employee and passenger behavior monitoring as well as liability protection speaks volumes as strong ROI.

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