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Indiana Jail Locks in on Video Reliability

Madison County Jail relies on March Networks video surveillance

In a jail or correctional facility, where incidents requiring video evidence occur all the time, the reliability of a video surveillance system is of paramount importance.

The Madison County Jail in Anderson, Indiana, 40 miles northeast of Indianapolis, is able to count on its new March Networks video solution to produce high-quality video evidence today, but that wasn’t the case with the facility’s previous surveillance system.

“With our older system, when I wanted to see video from a camera in the detox area, I might have ended up with video from the kitchen,” recalled Jail Commander Tyler Jugg. “That would happen with several cameras throughout the building. The system was very unreliable, and if we had to go to court and produce video evidence, it was a huge concern. On other occasions, we were unable to access video at all.”

The Madison County Jail, a 207-bed facility, invited several security system integrators to quote on a new video surveillance solution, but was most impressed with the March Networks solution recommended by Convergint Technologies.

“With March Networks, I don’t have to worry about the video not being there, and it’s very user friendly,” said Commander Jugg.

“With March Networks, I don’t have to worry about the video not being there, and it’s very user friendly.”

Ample storage

The jail’s March Networks video solution includes six 9248 IP Recorders, each of which accommodates up to 48 video channels and features eight, front-facing lockable hard drives for easy removal and replacement. The recorder can support as much as 80 TB of internal storage, allowing Madison County Jail to easily comply with a county ordinance requiring five years’ worth of archived video. When a hard drive is full, it can simply be removed, labeled, stored and replaced by a new drive.

The 9248 recorder has an embedded Linux operating system and internal battery backup for optimal reliability. If a recorder does need to be serviced, technicians can troubleshoot issues using diagnostic LEDs on the device’s front panel, or scan a unique QR code on the recorder using March Networks’ free GURU Smartphone App. The app provides technicians with troubleshooting capabilities, as well as online tutorials, product warranty status, express RMAs, a security configuration audit, and access to datasheets, user guides and more.

The solution is powered by March Networks’ Command Enterprise video management software, which provides mass management of device settings and configurations, system-wide health monitoring, customizable user interfaces and advanced video search and retrieval functionality. Madison County Jail is currently using its existing analog cameras in tandem with March Networks encoders to capture video, however is gradually replacing those cameras with new March Networks ME4 IR MicDome IP cameras. The ME4 IR MicDome can also record audio, and combines 4MP resolution with High Dynamic Range and powerful infrared LEDs to deliver sharp, detailed images day or night.

“Convergint did a good job of balancing retention and video quality, which was important because of the county’s requirement for five years of video storage,” said Commander Jugg. “They were able to adjust the IP camera settings to get excellent quality video, while also making sure that we had the hard drive space we needed because, in a facility like ours, retention is just as important as clarity.”

Video captured throughout the facility is monitored 24/7 from three control pods in the building. On the facility’s second and third floors, video from multiple cameras is displayed on four monitors, while the main control center on the first floor of the jail has eight monitors, each of which displays between four and 16 camera views.

Training sessions offered by March Networks

Training was delivered by a March Networks engineer, said Convergint Technologies’ Dave Piekarz, the Indianapolis-based account executive who services Madison County Jail.

“March Networks did two training sessions in one day — one for the AM staff and one for the PM staff. It’s a service that not many vendors would offer, and it’s an example of something March Networks was able to provide that made the customer comfortable with the product and with us as the service provider.”

Piekarz credits March Networks for the reliability of its hardware and software, as well as its customer service, but also likes the fact that the company sells its recorders with all camera licenses included — unlike many other video surveillance vendors. With March Networks, there was no need for Madison County Jail to pay for separate channel licenses or software support agreements.

The powerful search and retrieval functionality in the Command software, which includes features such as motion histograms and video preview thumbnails, make it easy for jail staff to zero in on archived video of a reported incident.

“I’ve had no issues at all finding video from the archives,” said Commander Jugg. “It’s always just a few clicks away. I can pull whatever I need.

“In a jail, there are always incidents that have to be reviewed from several different angles. That’s something the March Networks system does really well for us because we’re able to pull up video from multiple cameras and view video from all of them at the same time.”

Helpful health monitoring

The software’s real-time health monitoring is another feature that Commander Jugg appreciates.

“As soon as I sign in, the software immediately provides me with information about the health of the system,” he said. “It tells me, for example, when a camera experiences a connection failure.”

Command’s health monitoring also issues alerts when there is a hard drive issue or when processor or fan temperatures exceed normal levels.

Commander Jugg doesn’t hesitate to recommend March Networks technology to other jails in Indiana.

“When we get together, we always share information. If I’m asked if I would recommend March Networks, I definitely say yes. We’re very pleased with its performance and the reliability it has given us.”

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