Securitronics secures LPGA championship
ROCHESTER, N.Y.—Organizers of the Wegman’s LPGA Championship decided to augment their security operations with electronic security this year for the first time in the history of the 35-year-old event.
“We saw a real opportunity to use technology, which would mean [better security and, at the same time,] fewer paid security people, and more money for charity,” said Linda Hampton, Wegman’s LPGA tournament director.
Wegman’s is the title sponsor of this annual event, which took place at the Locust Valley Country Club in June, and raises money for United Way's Graduation is the Goal. The event always includes paid- and volunteer-security personnel and assistance from the local sheriff’s department, but had never included video surveillance.
Wegman’s brought in the Securitronics Company to secure the event. Owned since 1997 by Jeff Heath and Terry Rivet, Securitronics is an 18-person systems integrator with offices here and in Syracuse and a remote location in Buffalo. Rivet, Securitronics’ EVP, said the bulk of the company’s work is in card access and IP camera installations. It also does some intrusion, intercom and emergency phone work. It focuses on the health care, financial and education verticals across its statewide footprint.
To host the tournament, a temporary village of sorts was built at the hundred-acre golf course. This included a large expo tent, which more than 100,000 people filtered through during the course of the event.
This year the Rochester Institute of Technology helped make the expo tent, a “very progressive high-tech structure for the community, which was great,” said Jim Garvey, director of operations, Wegmans LPGA Championship. While they were excited about the structure, organizers also wanted to ensure that the structure and the merchandise inside were adequately protected.
Securitronics installed eight Axis cameras, (two thermal cameras, two interior fixed dome cameras and four fixed-position day/night cameras) which were used to watch the delivery area, operations area (where all the maintenance people resided), a carts storage area, the medical area (where drugs were stored), and the expo tent—inside and out.
“The thermal cameras were used in the areas of the golf course that are accessible at all hours and completely dark at night,” explained Mark Robinson, Securitronics director of operations.
The cameras were monitored via an ExacqVision server at a portable mobile security office that was set up in an RV.
Security personnel could watch the video from the security trailer and from a smartphone while onsite or offsite. “This system greatly increased [the security operation’s] eyes on the site,” Rivet said.
While this was the first temporary security installation Securitronics had done, it seemed fairly straightforward until the installation was about to begin.
“We were told early on that there would be a network available,” said Don Kwietniak, Securitronics’ manager of technology services, “We found out two to three weeks before the event that this was a home-grade Internet connection. It was not fast enough.”
Securitronics decided to install a Fluidmesh 10-node mesh network. “It allowed us to transmit the video at full speed and at full resolution,” he said. The network was installed on a temporary basis, but will be redeployed and may be expanded in the future.
The system took one day for a technician to install and Kwietniak said it “was easier to put up than the camera systems were.”
“This is the model for coming years,” Rivet said. Securitronics and tournament organizers will be looking at “how to enhance the system next year,” including giving the sheriff’s office access to the video feeds, using more cameras, and using the mesh network for non-security purposes.