College goes with mobile security for graduation

CCNY uses IPVideo mobile command to secure 7,000 in open-air event
 - 
Wednesday, August 6, 2014

NEW YORK—City College of New York expected 7,000-plus people to attend its outdoor graduation ceremonies held in a parking lot this past May. Security across the campus, which spans several blocks, was in place but not for a crowd of that size in one spot.

CCNY deployed an IPVideo mobile command vehicle for the day to secure the event.

“It was the cherry on the cake,” said George Crinnion, assistant director of public safety for CCNY.

People attending the graduation ceremony would be sitting in chairs on black asphalt with little or no shade, he said. Heat-induced health problems, among other safety concerns, were likely.

“Getting people in and out of there on any given day is hard enough,” he said.

The college has its own fully sworn troop of 55 “peace officers,” along with about 100 security guards. At the time, no surveillance cameras were in place in that parking lot, although $63,000 worth of cameras are scheduled to be installed this month.

CCNY knew that it needed some help with such a large event.  IPVideo’s mobile command center, rented out per diem, was just the ticket, said Crinnion, who was in charge of security on graduation day. He manned the control center, accompanied by its driver/operator, an expert on all of the technology provided.

“Behind the console, the pan-tilted cameras and those in fixed locations gave me live feed [and] also audio and cellular activity,” Crinnion said. Without the IPVideo’s C3 Fusion system, he would have had access to CCNY’s live but static public broadcast cameras that showed the ceremony taking place, not something geared for public safety.

“The failure to prepare means that you’re preparing to fail,” but that was not the case during the May ceremony, he said. His officers are trained to look for unusual activity in crowds, but the mobile command center provided an important “eye in the sky,” he said.

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter truck, which “looks like a press truck,” according to IPVideo president David Antar, houses a video wall and an IP phone system and has 12 high-def cameras extending from it.

The mobile command vehicles got their start as mobile showrooms to promote IPVideo’s capabilities, Antar said. “Then people started asking us if they could buy or rent the vehicle. We offer the vehicles as a solution now,” he said. They usually rent for about $5,000 a day.

The company owns two trucks, but plans to eventually deploy five. The vehicles still are used nearly daily for presentations, he said, but they also are used every few months for temporary security at events, including at an NFL draft and at intense rivalry football games, for example. And, the Associated Press has used it during presidential inauguration events.

CCNY has used the IPVideo mobile command vehicle a number of times, including during a recent speech by former President Bill Clinton, an event that drew 10,000 people, Crinnion said.

The college worked with systems integrator A+ Technology Solutions to deploy the solution. IPVideo, a provider of PSIM, VMS, as well as mobile command trucks, along with A+ Technology Solutions are portfolio companies of Advance Convergence Group. IPVideo makes the trucks available to all of its dealers, Antar said.