Flint Township a Safe City

Security Corp. works with Target on public/private partnership
Saturday, September 1, 2007

FLINT TOWNSHIP, Mich.--Officials here are singing the praises of integrator Security Corp. and a consortium of private businesses led by Target that have funded a public IP surveillance system called the Safe City Project. Lieutenant Jim Iacovacci, with the Flint Township Police Department, said it started with an initiative called Target and Blue, where Target encourages communities to replicate the public-private partnership the company has developed with Minneapolis, site of its world headquarters.
A Target and Blue meeting was in the back of Iacovacci's head after a terrible accident at a city intersection led to the death of a 16-year-old boy. Not only did the car that hit him not stop, 77 cars passed his body lying in the street before someone stopped to check on him. Iacovacci knows this because of cameras installed by a local Italian restaurant.
"Well," he said, "one of them caught the accident, but it was so far away I couldn't get anything off the tape." Remembering that Target has its own video forensics labs, Iacovacci decided to send the video to both Target and the Michigan State Police. "The Target crime lab had all the information back within 40 hours," he said. They were able to identify the make and model of the car, and that led to an arrest. After that, Iacovacci was convinced the private sector was far ahead of public law enforcement when it came to video. Following Target's lead, he gathered a group of area businesses who purchased pieces of an IP camera surveillance system in exchange for the cameras in their locations being monitored directly by the Flint Township Police Department.
Security Corp. won the installation job. Jeff Sturza, the sales engineer who worked with Flint Township, credited the company's experience with IP systems in winning the job. Iacovacci agreed: "Sometimes computer companies will tell you something will do something and it won't do it. I said, 'I want a company with experience with big projects ... I don't want to be some company's guinea pig." Sturza said Security Corp.'s installation of close to 1,000 cameras in the Saginaw, Mich., school system gave the company about all the experience it needed. In that case, he said, Security Corp. went with Honeywell Video Manager and Axis cameras. For Flint, it was an OnSSI front end and Sony cameras.
Security Corp. also had help. "We didn't really possess the wireless knowledge at the time," Sturza said, so he subcontracted the Motorola MESH system to Blumerich Communications, while Fiber Link handled the horizontal boring and running the fiber. Certain camera installation work went to Weinstein Electric. Sturza said the arrangement made the best use of each company's employee base. "I'm sure on other jobs, we might be able to utilize our own knowledge to put together a wireless system, because my engineers are familiar with it now, but we'll probably continue to use Blumerich."
Iacovacci is pleased with the outcome. "I've actually learned a lot," he said. "I thought I knew a lot until I started getting into this."