Security can see you.
Yes, new cameras positioned throughout the courthouse will make it easier for law enforcement to keep an eye on what’s happening both inside and out of the historic building.
Bill Lazenby, who coordinates security at the courthouse, said that the new cameras were installed last week and offer wide-angle views of the grounds.
Sitting at his desk, Lazenby watched his computer monitor.
On it were displayed 16 squares — each a different camera.
He pointed to one showing the north steps of the courthouse.
“Now I can pick up the window, front and the street from here,” Lazenby said.
Recently, a window was broken and the front door glass damaged on this side of the building.
The problem was, the antiquated cameras then couldn’t see or capture the culprit.
“These give me a broader view,” he said.
But there is more to it than that.
It was speculated that the vandalism occurred under the cover of darkness.
That would make the old cameras just about useless — but not these.
John Parkman, information technology department head, said the new cameras have the ability to peer through the darkness.
“It automatically switches over at night,” he said. “If that would happen now, you could see those people hitting the windows and the door.”
Like the old cameras, these record events in case they are needed later.
Lazenby said that they are currently retaining 30 days worth of recordings.
“At 30 days, it wipes out the last day and keeps going,” he said.
This feature has come in handy in the past as they have had to pull captured video because of inmate assaults and accidents.
“We utilize these cameras quite a bit for stuff in the courthouse,” Lazenby said.
Another perk, these cameras are able to compensate for bright light and shadows.
“What I saw before was a fog with the light coming in,” Lazenby said.
Parkman said that the outside cameras are high dynamic range style, which means they are able to compensate for both shadows and bright lights in the same view.
Lazenby said that at sunset, at least one of the cameras was almost useless because the sun shinning on it washed out the rest of the camera’s view.
Not any more.
These can compensate.
Parkman highlighted more various technical features of the new cameras, but for Lazenby, there is one simple feature he loves — the ability to see features.
“If I didn’t know who you were or how you walked, I could not tell who you were before,” he said.
Cost for the new system was $7,215 from Dynamark Security Centers of Corpus Christi. For those financially minded, this was the lowest bid, with the others coming in at $13K and $39K.
“I was scared of the low bid,” Lazenby admitted, but he is happy with the outcome.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.