Education: Montgomery County Schools
Schools Turn to Audio Security to Complement Video and Boost Safety
The continual news stories of security breaches and shootings occurring on campuses have led school districts across the United States to review their security systems. When Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), the largest school system in Maryland, reexamined their technology, they realized there was a need to increase security around the perimeter of more than 120 elementary schools. MCPS sought a solution that would lock doors, establish regulated access for visitors, and give staff the ability to monitor and grant access to guests.
MCPS looked to primary security integrator, Netcom Technologies Inc., to recommend a product. Netcom, located in Rockville, MD, designed a system that leveraged MCPS’ existing equipment with new technologies. The visitor control solution integrated Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), Access Control Security (ACS), an IP megapixel camera and Louroe Electronics’ AOP-SP-PB, a two-way audio monitoring speakerphone.
With the new visitor control solution, MCPS has been able to proactively assess and manage everyone who enters and leaves the premise. Specifically, the audio has created an additional checkpoint for visitors allowing staff to identify the purpose of their visit and ultimately increase security.
An increased need for the safety of students and staff has caused school systems around the United States to reexamine their security equipment and protocols. Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), serving over 150,000 students, identified a serious need to better secure the main entrances of more than 120 elementary schools. MCPS also wanted to better regulate parent and student traffic on the campuses.
The school system turned to their long-time integrator, Netcom Technologies, Inc., for help. After looking at MCPS’ current security systems, Netcom discovered that some of the existing equipment could be leveraged and integrated with new technologies to create a secure and cost-effective visitor control solution.
Specifically, Netcom utilized the existing Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) and Access Control Security (ACS) while also maximizing the efficiencies of MCPS’ IP megapixel camera by integrating Louroe Electronics’ the AOP-SP-PB.
The AOP-SP-PB, a two-way audio intercom door station with push button control, is a key reason why the visitor control solution works so effectively. The intercom works as follows:
When approaching the entrance of the facility, the push button is used by a school visitor. The button activates a pop-up window on the school security video screen in the school’s main office. That screen then provides a visual identification using an IQinVision, IP megapixel camera running IQ access and audio communication via the Louroe two-way communication unit. Once the visitor is identified and determined to be acceptable and safe, the facility management/security staff can then release the door lock that is being secured by a Maxxess netEdge unit located inside the school near the exterior door.
“The product works well and func ons as intended,” said Tim Roberts, RCDD, RTPM, and account manager at Netcom. “Overall, the end user is very happy.”
“The combination of audio and video allows us to have eyes and ears, and the ability to communicate with people on the ground,” explained Roberts. “The ability to monitor facial expressions and observe body language gives us greater insight into the subject looking to enter the building.”
“I think the audio plays a very important role,” said MCPS Security Supervisor Douglas Steel. “It allows you to have an open dialogue with the visitor, verify the purpose for their visit and reduces the school’s liability.”
With growing concern about school safety spreading across the nation, there will likely be more schools nationwide tapping into the power of audio to strengthen their security.
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