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Lancaster Safety Coalition

April 15 2016
Case Study • April 2016
Lancaster Safety Coalition
Lancaster Safety Coalition collage

Background

The Lancaster Safety Coalition (LSC) website states that the organization "exists with one goal in mind: to enhance the safety and quality of life for every resident and visitor in the City of Lancaster, PA." As Monitoring and Evidence Supervisor for LSC, Dave Greiner is tasked with carrying out this mission. While App-Techs was already working with LSC when Greiner assumed this role full-time in 2008, he had been an original board member and part-time staff previously, and states, "I've gotten very involved with App-Techs over the years."

"In late 2001, the Lancaster Crime Commission issued their final report, and came out with seventeen points about different ways to combat issues of crime in Lancaster City," Greiner relates. "One of their recommendations was an organization that was grass-roots, community-based. It would deploy cameras throughout the City of Lancaster." He continues, "It was in 2002 when the steering committee started to meet. Over the next couple years, we talked about how this organization would look and what our mission would be, and in addition to the cameras, we talked about crime prevention through environmental design and community mobilization. In late 2004 and early 2005, we actually started putting cameras up."

Our company began working with LSC in 2005-2006. Greiner says, "We decided we needed somebody local, and the logical choice was App-Techs."

Solutions

App-Techs has equipped the Lancaster Safety Coalition with a network which is a combination of mesh, point-to-point, and fiber. Technician Ryan John describes it as "kind of like a spider web that shoots out over the city, using a couple different wireless brands over the years" – including Ubiquiti, Tropos, Tranzeo, and Firetide radios. "Fiber goes back to the head end," where there are four recording servers, John notes, "because of the sheer number of cameras." App-Techs has provided LSC with one of our EasyNVR Performance servers, as well as two Performance workstations running Windows 8, with four video monitors each.

The past year, the coalition has upgraded to Milestone Corporate. "Once Dave saw the central management, he really liked that," shares John. This means LSC can now monitor all locations from a single, secure site within the city of Lancaster. App-Techs maintains a total of 162 cameras for the coalition. LSC began by using donated Bosch analog cameras with encoders, although over time they continue upgrading to digital IP.

One unique detail about LSC is that staff who monitor cameras may push video segments outside their system, and over a T1 line to countywide dispatch in the northern Lancaster County town of Manheim. In this way, even though 911 dispatch and the Lancaster police department are not on LSC's secure Milestone system nor do they have direct access to cameras, they can still benefit from live video capture as they perform their duties.

Results

"If there's a crime, we've probably seen it on the cameras [which has] helped the police solve a lot of crimes," Dave Greiner says. "If we weren't doing a good job, the police would never be in here, but they rely on us a lot. In effect, we can be at an incident before the police get there. The cameras are providing live feed [which] we can send to police dispatchers. They're actually seeing what's going on. They can provide real-time updates to the police, and the police find that invaluable. And if an officer is out somewhere on an incident, we have his or her back." He also notes, "We like to say we're watching the police, too, in case there'd be some sort of impropriety or some claim of police brutality, or something like that."

"We constantly get good feedback from the district attorney's office," he shares. "We've worked with agencies throughout the county and the state ... and they say, 'Boy, we wish we had this in our city or our township.' They're very impressed with the work we do."

He makes a point of saying, "A lot of that credit goes to our staff. It's very professional, highly trained, and very good at what they do. The cameras do a lot of the work, but our staff have to know what they're looking for, and how to operate the system."

Greiner plans to tap into training by App-Techs staff for himself in the near future, to learn more of the advanced functions of Milestone Corporate. Another upcoming endeavor for LSC and App-Techs will be integrating with the city of Lancaster's planned broadband network.

Regarding his impressions of App-Techs, Greiner states, "We've been approached by cities and other municipalities. We're right up-front with who our preferred vendor is, and we suggest that they call you guys. We've actually been trying to help promote you for years now."

Greiner relates an interesting connection with company co-founder Dan Fritsch. "Actually, my high school algebra teacher was Dan's dad ... and he taught my son, too, when he went to the same high school."

"If I have questions, I can call Ryan or Andrew or Derek," he says, "If they don't know, they'll try to find a solution for it [and] figure out what the problem is."

He also shares, "Early on, I called Dan at 11:00 on a Saturday night and he came in here. That's one nice thing about having someone local, and that's the level of service we would get from App-Techs. You guys have dropped things ... to help us out as much as you can, and we do appreciate that."


To learn more about how App-Techs can help your organization, call (717) 735-0848, contact our sales department, or visit our website.