Los Angeles Police Department

LAPD Connects Over 400 Distributed Cameras from Multiple Organizations in California to Secure High-Profile International Event

Special Olympics World Games 2015

Business challenge

Held in Los Angeles, California, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games (LA2015) was considered the single biggest event in the city since the 1984 Summer Olympics, and the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015. The international event welcomed 6,500 athletes and 2,000 coaches, representing 165 countries. It was estimated that over 500,000 spectators and 30,000 volunteers attended the Games.

The sheer size and notoriety of the event had the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) planning security and operational logistics long before the opening ceremony. According to Commander Dennis Kato, LAPD Planning Group, Special Olympics World Games Organizing Committee, "LA2015 was about inclusion. The events were open to the public, and anyone was free to walk into any event. The events were also spread throughout the cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach. This posed unique security challenges for us, where we needed to rely heavily on cameras and boots-on-the-ground officers for situational awareness."

Among the LA2015 venues were the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and the University of Southern California (USC), as well as other sports complexes and event facilities in Los Angeles and the nearby city of Long Beach, California. Each facility was already outfitted with its own Security Center platform, which was managed by its respective police and security forces.

Genetec enables LAPD to build unified security command post

Based on guidelines of a national program called Incident Command Structure (ICS), a plan was set in place to build a centralized command post in a vacant police headquarters in the City of Los Angeles. From there, existing cameras from these venues needed to be accessed for live viewing and video review; but one challenge remained: How could the LAPD connect the disparate surveillance systems at each venue, and centralize the monitoring of the event from one unified command post?

After discussions with the Major Crimes Division at the LAPD and a proof-of-concept demonstration, Commander Kato knew that only one solution could enable them to share video access and collaborate with various stakeholders - Security Center Omnicast, the video surveillance system of Security Center, and the FederationTM-as-a-Service (FaaS) capability. Since many venues were already running Security Center systems, the LAPD leveraged FaaS, a highly-scalable cloud service, to connect their command post across the multiple sites and monitor over 400 video cameras. Installation of the service was easy as no on-site servers were required, and the cloud-enabled FederationTM feature facilitated a seamless connection across all the distributed sites.

Genetec FaaS promotes effective collaboration

"It was the first time at a command post, where I felt I never needed to leave. I had enough coverage to get a feel for what was happening at each one of those venues. That's truly why Federation-as-a-Service was such a pivotal capability for our operations," explained Commander Kato.

With Commander Kato spearheading operations, the security command post comprised one large, well-equipped monitoring room and over 150 people from various municipal, state and national departments.

A massive video wall complemented five monitoring hubs which were divvied up into a UCLA division, a Long Beach division, a USC division, a Los Angeles Convention Center area division and another division for other sports centers and event areas. At each venue, a communication center was also in operation, where the LAPD worked alongside local security and fire teams, an Olympic Games committee organizer and other decision-makers.

LAPD keeps special needs athletes safe with Security Center

At any Special Olympics event, keeping track of athletes is a top priority. Operators at the unified command post found Security Center to be very intuitive and were quickly able to pull up cameras upon request and conduct forensic searches with ease.

"Normally at our command posts, we rely heavily on the radio, but radio can only give you a verbal description of what is happening on the ground. With real-time video, everyone had a direct view of what was happening and everyone was on the same page. Federation-as-a-Service allowed us to pull video from our partners which were crucial to the security of the games as it ensured our command post operated efficiently and smoothly," said Commander Kato.

Controlling access to systems and maintaining the privacy of certain cameras were key in forming successful partnerships among everyone that was involved. FaaS enabled parties to define which cameras were shared, which operators could access them, how far back operators would be authorized to view recorded video, and what level of control the LAPD would have overs PTZ camera. As the LAPD needed to be cautious not to overload the network at the command post, they could also cap the video resolution when multiple cameras were being viewed, helping to limit the bandwidth required.

Looking beyond LA2015 into citywide surveillance expansion

Considering the success of the unified command post at LA2015, the LAPD is considering how a similar structure could benefit the city of Los Angeles as they continue to upgrade their surveillance infrastructure. Commander Kato and the LAPD are also particularly interested in equipping his team with the Security Center Mobile app to allow officers to access video from their mobile devices.

On a final note, Commander Kato sums up his experience with Genetec at LA2015, "Without Security Center and Federation-as-a-Service, I would not have been able to secure the same level of awareness during the Special Olympics World Games. We were able to quickly setup a centralized monitoring facility that connected us to the cameras across each venue. GenetecTM was instrumental in making our unified command post work and without the Genetec solutions in place, we would not have been able to function as efficiently as we did during those 12 days."

Genetec professional services at a glance

A Genetec project manager acted as a single point of contact to ensure that all deployment work was properly understood, scoped and coordinated. During active deployment, a Genetec field engineering expert was onsite and worked as part of the LAPD's delivery team, assisting in the configuration and commissioning. The project manager and field engineer worked in tandem to guarantee the success of the project. In any installation, these professional services provide additional peace-of-mind to customers who want to ensure deployment goes smoothly and project timelines are met.