One of the most important and effective ways to ensure public safety and security is having streamlined communication and processes between departments and agencies within that government, be that at the city, state, or federal level. The problem is that not many governments have a standardized solution in place. Often, without an internal champion to promote the use of streamlined safety security technology, departments run rampant with different technologies and manufacturers. This creates silos of departments that can cause headaches at the very least - and major security vulnerabilities at the worst. Many organizations don’t think of safety security as an all-encompassing process that should bring together leadership from multiple government agencies. We’re here to outline some of the things that can go wrong if you stay on this path.
Here’s the trouble with disparate public safety security solutions.
1. INEFFICIENCIES WITH TRAINING AND ONBOARDING
Training new staff members is stressful enough. Trying to train them on multiple video surveillance and access control systems for different city entities is not efficient, nor is it a good use of staff time. Most people don’t easily remember activities they don’t do on a regular basis, and in an emergency situation, the last thing you want is for someone to have to stop and figure out what specific system they need for that moment. The ideal scenario is to have a cohesive security solution across the entire city so the usage of the system is second nature in a high-stress situation.
2. YOU LOSE NETWORK STABILITY
Different security technology can have a very different impact on its network, depending on the build and configuration. So while connectivity is incredibly important, you don’t want it to interfere with your day-to-day operations, and you especially don’t want that network to have issues in an emergency. We work with Avigilon because they have patented NVR technology that allows cameras to record high-definition videos and send that feed back to a centralized location without losing bandwidth. You can’t have that level of consistency when you have different surveillance technology in every city department.
3. YOUR RESULTS AND SUPPORT WILL
Different security technology means you get a different level support with every vendor and manufacturer. Unfortunately, a lot of manufacturers don’t provide a level of support and service that is required for such a vital situation as public safety security. Additionally, the situation becomes incredibly sticky when you consider that if there’s an issue, you’re going to experience lot of finger-pointing between support reps before you get an answer (if you ever do get an answer). When you have five different contractors who installed five different systems and something breaks, which one do you call? It’s not always clear. And updates are a separate issue. One singular system with a technology partner means you have someone who can install the updates and can ensure that those updates will not impact your other systems. Many vendors don’t follow up with you about updates, and the end result is usually that none of the updates are installed.
4. THE TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP INCREASES
Speaking of maintenance and sustainability, let’s talk about the cost of these activities. Bringing a tech out to fix an issue translates to dollar signs. So just think about that times five (or however many different security systems you use), and you’re looking at a pretty significant chunk of change. Couple that with the fact that these technology systems will all require maintenance, updates, and upgrades as time goes by, and you’re suddenly losing all of the money you “saved” by purchasing less expensive systems. Additionally, these disparate systems typically need to be replaced more often, so the cycle of training and integrating new technology starts all over again. Saving 5-10% up front can really cost you and your staff, not to mention your public, in the long run.
5. POTENTIAL CRISES DURING EMERGENCIES
When is public safety security the most valuable to your staff and the people you protect? During an emergency. It could be a situation where you’re trying to track a suspect from place to place and you could be needing multiple emergency responders to get certain information or release a city-wide alert. During these situations, the very last thing your staff should be doing is trying to work between multiple security systems with different functionality, trying to remember passwords, and make them communicate with each other. Remembering the training for one system is bad enough in high-adrenaline circumstances, let alone multiple systems that have very different capabilities. It’s not a good use of law enforcement time to have to go from building to building instead of watching a streamlined feed from a centralized location while they decide how to neutralize the threat in a more proactive manner.
Disparate doesn’t work.
It might seem like the easiest solution for your city is to let every agency implement their own security systems. But easy doesn’t mean better, and this is where having measurable security outcomes really matters. The goals of the city should never be to have security cameras and access control—the goal should be to prevent personal and property damage and enable police to respond to emergencies. That’s why having a partner who understands this is so important. They can help you determine the measurable goals you have and how to be the champion for a cohesive public safety security solution that protects every department. That’s a hero that everyone needs right now.