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Beefed up security planned for federal buildings in Lower Manhattan

26 Federal Plaza in NYC

Federal security personnel sitting in the upgraded command center in room 222 at 290 Broadway in Lower Manhattan will soon be able to monitor wireless feeds from additional video cameras, handheld license plate readers, chemical, biological and radiological sniffers, and other security sensors, as they try to protect employees and visitors using that federal building and another nearby building at 26 Federal Plaza.

The security enhancements are being planned by the Federal Protective Service, a unit of DHS, which is responsible for protecting federally owned or leased facilities.

The upgrade project will include the installation of 18 camera poles which will carry a total of 33 megapixel cameras, with 180-degree fields of view, intended to cover the four streets adjacent to 26 Federal Plaza, according to a set of technical specifications released by DHS on August 18.

“The cameras will use H.264 compression,” said the specs. “These camera video streams shall be transmitted to 290 Broadway via microwave links. The microwave links will support up to 30 frames per second.”

The cameras will provide coverage for “the entire footprint and the borders of 26 Federal Plaza,” the north and west sides of 290 Broadway (including the Court of International Trade that occupies that building), and nearby Foley Square and Thomas Paine Park.

The plan also calls for beefed up use of “video analytics,” sophisticated software that analyzes video images in search of complex or suspicious patterns of behavior. The upgrade will add 25 channels of video analytics that can be applied to video streams originating with the outdoor perimeter cameras and another 25 channels that can be applied to fixed and pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) cameras mounted inside the buildings.

Some of these analytic channels will be asked to perform “Crowd Detection” analyses, in which the software can detect moments when crowds are developing in various waiting lines, and trouble could be brewing.

“The system detects [an] overcrowding situation by analyzing a real time video image and generating alert notification when the occupancy rate exceeds a user-defined limit in either a Region of Interest (ROI) or in the whole camera view,” explains the DHS specs. “Appropriate action can be taken to resolve crowd situations before serious overcrowding occurs.”

The security enhancement project also calls for the use of one fixed license plate reader at a checkpoint on Lafayette and Duane Streets, plus six handheld license plate readers that can be carried by security personnel. These handheld devices should maintain their own databases independently.

“The handheld reader must be able to capture a plate on the street and process it using the internal database,” says the spec sheet. “A computer must be provided to automatically update the ‘Hot List’ database at least once every 24 hrs.”

The overall security system will not only enable security personnel to watch for suspicious vehicles, but will also remain vigilant in its pursuit of chemical, biological or radiological (CBR) threats. The plan calls for the installation of three CBR detection units, one at the security pavilion at 26 Federal Plaza, another near the African Burial Ground National Monument, and a third on Reade Street, outside 290 Broadway.

These detectors will continuously monitor the air for signs of chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals and toxic industrial materials, says the spec sheet. The CBR system is likely to use SiteProtector management software, which is supplied by IBM. Such detection systems should be able to respond to suspicious CBR situations in 1-3 seconds, and identify the threat in 1-30 seconds.

The biological analyzer and collector being sought for this upgrade effort “provides near real-time warning capability for biological aerosol threats,” says the requirements document.

A radiation detector, which can define 99 different isotopes, should be able to detect sources of radiation emitting 100 Curies (Ci) of radioactivity from more than half a mile away.

The program has been identified as a 100 percent small business set-aside opportunity by the Federal Protective Service. Interested small business vendors have until September 9 to submit their bids.

Further information is available from Michael DeCrescio at 215-521-2263.



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