Digital video watches over military facilities in Washington state
Digital video watches over military facilities in Washington state

Jan 1, 1998 12:00 PM
AC&SSI Staff

"Four sites are up and running," says Bob Green, assistant director of the Military Department, State of Washington, of the remote monitoring system at Camp Murray that tracks operations at three other military sites across the state. At the core of the new multi-site system is a PC-based interactive video management, alarm verification and digital recording system from Alpha Systems Lab Inc. (ASL), Irvine, Calif.

Sites monitored from Camp Murray in Tacoma, Wash., include: Geiger Field, a helicopter hangar facility located 450 miles away in Spokane; the Army Training Center "tank yard," located at Yakima in the center of the state; and Gray Army Field, a combined helicopter hangar facility and flight operations security center near Fort Lewis.

Remote security implementation

At Camp Murray, a 24-hour guard force conducts remote monitoring for the other three sites. The duty guards conduct camera "tours" of multiple locations, as necessary, through Philips pan/tilt/zoom CCD camera installations at each monitored facility.

"Duty guards are freed from the task of continually viewing security monitors without letup," explains Green. They readily perform camera touring to check each of the sites "physically" and routinely verify equipment functionality day and night. With video motion detectors strategically located at each site, any unauthorized intrusion or presence results in an alarm notification at the Camp Murray site.

In the event of an alarm, the personnel at Camp Murray can view the scene "live" and run that camera through its pan/tilt/zoom modes to take a closer look. If desired, the guard can also run a playback of the digitally recorded event for further examination. When necessary, security enforcement personnel (guards, airport police, etc.) located near each site can also be dispatched instantly from the Camp Murray monitoring station.

Monitored-site requirements

Each site is unique in some respect. At Geiger Field, helicopter hangar access is restricted, and Phillips video motion detectors keep guard over the hanger interior. Anyone who has been authorized for entrance, for example, for non-duty-hour flight operations, can deactivate the alarm by entering an assigned access code on a Hirsch Electronics keypad outside the hangar. Without a correct code first being entered, the motion detectors sense an intrusion, instantly initiate video recording and send out an alarm notifying the duty guard at Camp Murray. Taking a closer look with the remote system, the guard can pick up a phone and talk directly with that party. If an authorized party has incorrectly entered the assigned code, the matter can be quickly resolved and the alarm reset.

At the large Army Training Center in Yakima, an exterior security application is involved. With about 60 M-1 tank vehicles staged there and other peripheral duties still required, on-site guards are retained.

Because of the "tank yard" configuration, a "through-the-lens" motion detection system is being installed, and two cameras are already in use. As with the Geiger Field system, any activity among the tanks will be detected and the intrusion alarm given. The on-site guard can then use the cameras for close examination. A loudspeaker is in place that enables the guard to engage the "intruder" and determine if the activity detected is authorized or not.

"Gray Army Field at Fort Lewis was the first site to be up and running," says Green. "We have a larger hangar there, 80,000 square feet, with two distinct remote monitoring system applications."

For safety during the day, Flight Operations monitors the flight line. Using two pan/tilt/zoom cameras mounted on the front of the hangar, the Flight Operations Duty Sergeant observes activity on the strip apron. Inside the hangar, during non-duty hours, the system functions similar to the one at Geiger Field.

Enhanced security and manpower efficiency

On-site guards are no longer used at Geiger Field - previously three were required there. At the Army Training Center in Yakima, five on-site guards were formerly assigned. That number has been reduced to three - the minimum needed for other operations duties. In the past, security at Gray Army Field was maintained through hourly site inspection tours, conducted by guards dispatched from Camp Murray (about three miles away). This activity is no longer necessary and has been eliminated.

Many security applications are only needed temporarily, says Green. A current example is a warehouse facility in which an "assembly line" is being set up short-term to prepare a large number of computers for a special application. Here again is an situation in which only authorized access is allowed, employing motion detection and remote monitoring approaches similar to those already described. "Obviously the ease of being able to move the system from place to place is a key factor for us," Green says.

Eyes to the future

The State of Washington Military Department has several additional locations planned, pending budget approval. In the next six months, the four sites now on line are expected to grow to seven, which will include some military motor pools. "Our goal and the goal of our director is that similar security needs at all 30 of our armories in Washington state will be addressed with a CCTV-system approach. The base system here at Camp Murray will be able to support that."

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