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System Security in Garfield County, CO: PSAP Guards Against Unauthorized Access

Date: 2011-07-19
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The Garfield County Emergency Communications Authority uses a sophisticated access control system that piggybacks on
existing network infrastructure to save $10,000 on installation

In the tough economy, both the public and private sectors find themselves having to do more with less, without skimping on security.  Fortunately, recent advances in physical security systems are helping to increase their safety and flexibility while decreasing cost.

Take, for instance, the Garfield County Emergency Communications Authority which serves the emergency needs of 13 jurisdictions in the Colorado County, by supporting all types of citizen emergency 9-1-1 calls with dispatch facilities for law enforcement, fire suppression and emergency medical services over 2,958 square miles.

The main goal of one Garfield County Emergency Communications Authority project was to provide appropriate access controls for the Communications and Data Operations (Dispatch) Center in Rifle, CO as well as for the six remote Microwave radio sites which provide the communications backbone for the County’s emergency communications system.

According to Patrick Smith, Technology Manager for the Garfield County Emergency Communications Authority, “For site security, we sought to monitor access at the 911 center, movement throughout the building, as well as access and movement in and out of the radio sites.  IP-based door access readers and cameras would make it easy for us to remotely monitor our assets over our digital microwave system.”

Internet Protocol (IP)-based technology is the same technology used for networking computers, printers and other peripherals in most schools and businesses today.  By piggybacking on the existing network cabling, facility managers and security personnel can quickly and easily install IP-based door access readers to a common network switch with standard cables. 

Smith found the ISONAS door access reader system he uses saved a significant amount of time and money on installation alone.  Established in 1999, ISONAS designs, manufactures and distributes the first electrical panel-free, IP-based security access control system called PowerNet™.

In the ISONAS system, the reader is a network device with built-in functions to act as reader and control panel.  Each reader can store information in its own memory for up to 64,000 sets of credentials, along with a historical access log.  The readers come with a keypad, card swipe or both and the reader can be programmed in a variety of ways.

“Because our door access reader has its own secure database in local mode, it’s no problem if it loses its server connection,” says Smith.  “The system continues to function and when the network connection is restored, it uploads the data to the server.  We can always find out who was there, for how long, if a door was left ajar, or if something wasn’t locked up properly.”

Another plus of such an IP-based system is that door status can be monitored and most issues corrected remotely.  For instance, “If a federal employee needs access to a remote radio site but has forgot his access card, the solution is easy,” says Smith.  “When the Federal Technician is on the phone with a dispatcher, the dispatcher can verify him, and if everything checks out, let him in remotely.”

As well, Smith recently implemented ISONAS’ mobile Easy Web software at the Dispatch and Data Center main building.  “With webpage access formatted to be viewed on a mobile device, we no longer have to be at a PC trying to lock down the facility in an emergency,” says Smith.  “With mobile Easy Web, we can lock down the building from a discreet spot anywhere at or near the facility.”

For more info visit

- Corporate News/ (via Isonas, 6/27/11)



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