When Troy Campbell, IT specialist and cyberthreat intelligence architect for the Kansas City Police Department, looked at the technology at his disposal at the Kansas City Terrorism Early Warning Fusion Center, he realized something needed to change if the center were to reach its full potential.
The KCTEW Fusion Center, one of less than 80 of its kind in the U.S. that are responsible for overseeing terrorism, crimes and hazards, was severely lacking in its ability to meet at least one of the four critical operation capabilities all fusion centers must meet: communication.
“Some technologies are dictated because of who you communicate with,” says Campbell. “The needs are dictated by the owner. Technically, we’re pretty adept, but we realized we weren’t doing well with our communication after going through exercises on the COCs.”
Campbell had no interest in a hardware-based solution to address the communication issues, saying it wasn’t flexible enough to meet the needs. That meant Campbell was focused instead on software-based systems. The other issue was the new system had to be installed and invoiced within 30 days.
The job took about two or three days in early August after Andershock and his team went through background checks and agreed to be escorted around the center by Campbell.
“It was one of these projects we really wanted to do,” says Andershock, noting he heard about it from Hiperwall. “We wanted it to be flawless. This is an example for others.”
Inside The Installation
Andershock oversaw the installation of a Hiperwall video wall system that helps KCTEW staff gather and share data and threats with more than 61 jurisdictions including federal, state, local and private-sector partners. The wall, says Campbell, was “nowhere near anything classified,” so there was no risk of having people without full clearance in the building. Meetings that focused on sensitive information were scheduled at times when the integrators were not in the building, says Campbell.
Campbell and others at KCTEW now have the ability to manage both the control system and local and state-wide data feeds. The Hiperwall enhanced and embedded KVM (keyboard, video, and mouse) feature empowers control room operators and analysts with more functionality to satisfy these requirements from any work location. The video wall monitors more than 100 cameras around the city, including officer locations and calls for live events. This allows the Kansas City Police Department to reduce their operating costs, since the fusion center is connected to the local police force.
The fusion center integrates law enforcement intelligence activities throughout the area and also gathers and disseminates everything from threat assessments to cities hosting large events (like the Big 12 NCAA Basketball Tournament and MLS Cup) to a database of blueprints of buildings like schools and hospitals that law enforcement can pull up in their vehicles when responding to critical incidents at those locations.
Among the recent events broadcast on the fusion center’s video wall were real-time updates when a woman tried to drive through the gate in front of the White House.
“The management console is great,” says Campbell, saying the system cost less than $50,000. Other local police and fire departments have been impressed by it and are looking to install similar systems, he says.