California State University football stadium enjoys home field advantage with thermal imaging
Editor / Provider: Pelco | Updated: 11/6/2012 | Article type: Government & Public Services
Fresno State football fans and players were clamoring over the look and feel of the team's new $1.2 million FieldTurf from the day it was installed in 41,031-seat Bulldog stadium in the California State University (CSU). But behind the scenes, the university was concerned with finding a way to protect the artificial playing surface from vandals and trespassers at any hour, in any lighting condition. Pelco by Schneider Electric solved that challenge with its new Sarix TI thermal imaging cameras.
During the first year since FieldTurf was installed in Bulldog stadium, campus officials left some stadium lights on at night to help keep the university's investment secure. The cameras can save energy and money for the university by eliminating the need for nighttime lighting.
“Without the cameras, the only method to enhance security on campus would be to hire more officers and work them more overtime,” said David Huerta, Chief of the Fresno State Police Department. “The cameras have reduced patrol overtime significantly.”
At a time when many institutions in the CSU system face extensive budget cuts, embracing technology allows the campus police department to maintain a high level of security with limited resources.
“The more we can enhance what we can see, the less time officers have to spend going to the site to check the premises,” Huerta said. “We don't have to send a physical officer to that location.”
From 2010 to June 2012, the Fresno State campus police department spent nearly $3,000 in resources to provide routine area checks of the stadium, not including vehicle fuel and maintenance.
Now, with thermal imaging cameras providing the ability to monitor the stadium remotely at night, even in complete darkness, the department can send officers to patrol the stadium only when necessary. Because the cameras see emitted thermal energy, people or vehicles entering the premises can be identified and tracked in any lighting condition.
The video analytics capabilities of the cameras automatically notify police personnel of possible threats with an alarm, day or night, oftentimes before the human eye notices them.
“One of the major advantages of a thermal imaging camera is that it generally produces consistent images around the clock, 24/7, in any lighting condition,” said Dave Stanfield, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Pelco.
Pelco engineers configured Fresno State's system to set a virtual barrier around the playing field to track anyone who enters. When an alarm is triggered, the police department can immediately send officers to the location with knowledge of where the intruders are located within the stadium and how many subjects there are.
It didn't take long to prove the effectiveness of the system. About a month after installation, a trespasser triggered an alarm on a Sarix TI camera and was quickly apprehended at the scene.
Fresno State officials have a longtime partnership with Pelco video security. A blanket of Pelco video security systems watches over the 388-acre main Fresno State campus and parts of the 1,011-acre university farm. The university is equipped with 91 Pelco IP cameras connected to a robust Endura VMS for mission-critical surveillance, plus 28 Pelco analog cameras on affordable, efficient DX recording systems.
“Because we're so wide open, it's difficult to tell who does and doesn't belong here,” Huerta said. “The more we can see with video security, the less time officers spend physically going to check things out. We can follow a heat signature right into the darkness.”
The stadium has long been equipped with Pelco IP visible light cameras. The recent addition of thermal imaging cameras complements the overall system while expanding video security capabilities.
Huerta is aware of only one other university currently using thermal video security technology, and he is already thinking about other locations on campus where the technology would be beneficial.
“This partnership between Pelco and Fresno State demonstrates the value of thermal technology and how it contributes to safety and security on a large campus environment,” Huerta said. “I think we're on the cutting edge. I believe thermal camera technology is the wave of the future.”