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City of Lakeland, Fla., Improves Security, Building Safety

Unified system streamlines security

City of Lakeland Command Center

LAKELAND, Fla. — This Florida city recently standardized its security operations with a unified security platform that combines video surveillance, access control and automatic license plate recognition systems into one central monitoring and management platform.

Located between Tampa and Orlando, the City of Lakeland is home to more than 100,000 residents. Although surveillance efforts were already in place to keep citizens safe, the Lakeland was dealing with many disparate analog and DVR systems. City administrators wanted a more robust and reliable IP-based security system.

After much deliberation, Lakeland chose the Genetec Security Center. SiteSecure, a security integrator that was recently acquired by Miller Electric Company, is currently contracted to handle installations and maintenance for the city-wide expansion project.

Although the city-wide system is still evolving, Security Center is currently installed at 53 sites throughout the city. These sites include waste and water facilities, police and fire departments, city hall, libraries, park and recreation buildings, public works facilities, the regional airport and others. Omnicast and Synergis, the video surveillance and access control systems within Security Center ,manage a total of 650 cameras and more than 450 doors, respectively.

“The scalability and flexibility of Security Center has been phenomenal,” said Alan Lee, security and safety systems supervisor for the public works facilities for the City of Lakeland. “With the new unified platform, we have been able to accommodate every single need or application that has been requested by our city organizations.”

One of the biggest benefits for the City of Lakeland when choosing Genetec Security Center was its innate open architecture. This allows the city to choose its preferred brands and models of hardware, while also leveraging existing investments to lower their total cost of ownership.

“We were able to preserve existing analog cameras and also the cable, power and card technologies from previously installed access-control systems at various sites,”said Lee. “This was a huge selling point for senior management, since we were able to capitalize on existing investments and save around $300 per door and $200 per camera.”

All cameras and access control devices are located within the same platform, but Lakeland implemented granular partitioning so that each department has exclusive control of the video and access-control for its own buildings.


More than 200 system users have access to the system with specific privileges set according to their various functions, and more than 3,300 cardholders can freely move through city buildings, when and where permitted. Designated “partition leaders” at each department are responsible for issuing badges, changing rules or accessing video, where applicable. The Active Directory feature helps the city’s IT department streamline the whole process, offering centralized management and synchronization of Windows user accounts with Security Center’s administrator and cardholder accounts.

With administrative control over all local systems, the IT department can also offer convenient and centralized support.

“We have become a one-stop-shop for servicing all of our city departments, which saves everyone considerable time,” said Lee. “There’s no more need to jump through hoops. One call to our department and we can we update door schedules, tweak access-control rights, and immediately activate or deactivate cardholders. This helps to keep our buildings operationally efficient and secure.”

Although the new platform has certainly contributed to keeping city buildings secure, the neighborhood has benefited from Security Center as well, making life in Lakeland easier and safer. For example, to accommodate community events or city hall meetings, system administrators can implement temporary door schedules to provide citizens with free-flowing access to buildings after-hours.

“Witnessing the efficiencies that have been experienced by each department and the community as a whole, Lakeland has increased its budget year-over-year for the last five years for continued city-wide expansion with Genetec Security Center,” Lee said.

With federally-mandated compliance standards being imposed on all electric utility organizations, the Lakeland is focused on re-evaluating and upgrading all Lakeland Electric’s systems, while possibly unifying perimeter protection with Security Center. The city is also making the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport a priority in its expansion, bringing more doors and cameras online. Finally, the city is also looking into AutoVu license plate recognition for both law enforcement and parking applications.

“We started with 12 cameras and a few doors, and now we are closing in on 700 cameras and 500 doors, all connected to our city infrastructure,” Lee said. “It is really impressive to see where we have come from, what we can do with the system and what the future holds for Lakeland.”