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TWG Minutes - October 23, 2007

CITY OF FULLERTON

TECHNOLOGY WORKING GROUP

SPECIAL MEETING

MINUTES

October 23, 2007 - 9:00 A.M.

CALL TO ORDER

Vice Chair Stover called the special meeting to order at 9:07 a.m.

 

ROLL CALL

 

Members Present

Tony Anderson Madusha Palliyage

Mike Carter Robb Port

Helen Hall Carl Samantello

Larry Iboshi Edward Smith

Paul Stover, Vice Chair

 

 

Members Absent

Roger Burtner, Chair Steve Giano

Fred Canfield Thad Sandford

 

Staff:
Robert Ferrier, Acting Assistant to the City Manager

Geoff Spalding, Police Captain

Steve Matson, Police Lieutenant

 

Guests:

Everett Draper, Audio Video Services,

technical consultant to Fullerton P.D.

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Vice Chair Stover asked for a motion to approve the September 13, 2007, minutes. Helen Hall so moved. Mike Carter seconded, and the minutes were approved unanimously.

Mr. Stover noted that Chair Burtner had been delayed in Chicago due to flight problems, and had asked him to chair today's meeting.

 

 

DISCUSSION ITEMS

 

Downtown Fullerton Surveillance System and Citywide Wireless

Capt. Spalding began the discussion by asking Vice Chair Stover to provide an overview of the TWG's project. Mr. Stover explained that the TWG's directive had been to assess the technology infrastructure in the City of Fullerton. This resulted in recommendations which had been approved in 2002 and are available for review online. Mr. Stover noted that among the recommendations was to determine the feasibility of wireless in the downtown area and create a fiber I-Net throughout the city, which would initially bring together about 60-70 institutions, mostly nonprofit and schools. Part of that feasibility study included whether a surveillance system could become part of the technology infrastructure improvements within the city.

 

Helen Hall pointed out that the project was proposed to start on a small scale, integrating public safety and public works first, and then branching out to include schools. She indicated that the focus of this discussion was to obtain information about the Police Department's proposed surveillance system project and the fiber network that would be installed, and discuss the possibility of the TWG's project piggybacking on the P.D.'s fiber, resulting in considerable savings to the City (approximately $250,000). Another point of discussion, at the request of Chair Burtner, was to inquire as to the decision making process behind the P.D.'s selection of a hardwired surveillance system (closed circuit TV) versus IP surveillance-type cameras, i.e., what factors did the consultant take into consideration in choosing hardwired vs. wireless, what are the pros and cons, and what flexibility would the system have. Helen Hall stated for the record that the purpose of the meeting was not to suggest that P.D. change any of its equipment as far as cameras in the downtown area, and she reiterated that the discussion was focused on the decision making process and the network setup itself, i.e., the backbone.

 

Mr. Draper stated that while the IP cameras are excellent cameras, with high pixel, there are no auto iris lenses to match the cameras, and while IP cameras might work effectively in an area with consistent lighting, they did not have the auto iris capability. He suggested the IP cameras are like driving a Cadillac with a 4-cylinder engine in it.

 

Lt. Matson provided a brief recap of the process that P.D. went through in making their selection. In considering placement of surveillance cameras in the downtown area, it was determined there were too many obstacles for WiFi (trees, etc.). In meetings with camera manufacturers and Pelco, P.D. was told that fiberoptics would absolutely be the best way to go. Even though it would be expensive, it offered the best solution to meet their needs.

Capt. Spalding pointed out that one of their other objectives was to have the cameras, whether they be IP or analog, capable of having an IP address so that they can be viewed from an Internet site, because one of P.D.'s projects includes EVOC (Enterprise Virtual Operations Center), which involves Anaheim and Department of Homeland Security funding. EVOC is basically a web portal accessible by public safety agencies, or anyone else granted access, that provides access to public safety information in the event of a major emergency, such as an earthquake or Homeland Security event. The web portal would provide a variety of information that an EOC (emergency operations center) would need access to, including the feed from the surveillance cameras. He noted that the fiber backbone would provide the flexibility of changing the hardware at either end. He further stated that in their selection process they had told the consultant they wanted a system that was going to be highly secure, highly reliable (without worry about tree obstruction, weather degradation and those kinds of issues), provide the best quality video because in all likelihood some of the video could eventually be used for court presentations, and, lastly, capable of expansion in the future. The consultant's recommendation met all of those needs.

Mr. Stover pointed out that Fullerton is known as an education city, and with that Fullerton wants to be a "smart community" which means technology at the highest levels available, and the TWG's objective to deliver broadband is not for the purpose of delivering more digital games to the kids, but with the notion that the TWG could move forward with technology that would provide the safest city possible. And while safety has been a part of TWG's discussions, the TWG has not been included in P.D.'s discussions. He stated that the TWG is hoping to develop substantive conversations with P.D. to determine how the TWG can help when it comes to delivering the backbone to the system and aggregating the costs.

 

Capt. Spalding welcomed the opportunity to work with the TWG and to take advantage of the TWG's knowledge and expertise, noting that the same goals exist for both – to provide public safety and increase communication. Capt. Spalding further noted that he was unaware that the TWG was interested in tying into P.D.'s fiberoptics, but welcomed the TWG to do so.

Capt. Spalding suggested that, if the TWG was interested, P.D. could provide an employee from their committee to join the TWG, or at least be present at TWG meetings so there is ongoing communication.

 

Mr. Stover thanked Capt. Spalding for his comments and suggestions, and agreed it would be a good idea to move in that direction.

 

Mr. Stover then directed the group's attention to the surveillance camera demo which Chair Burtner had made arrangements for through a company called ECS in Irvine. The demonstration was of IP cameras at several locations. Ms. Hall showed how the cameras could be manipulated and noted they worked the same as closed circuit cameras.

 

Capt. Spalding pointed out that P.D. currently has nine cameras in various locations in the downtown area, and provided a listing of those locations.

 

Mr. Samantello noted that if the TWG and P.D. merged their two plans, the backbone could be expanded which could allow P.D. to place dozens of cameras all over the city.

 

Mr. Stover noted that that was what the TWG has been about from the beginning – the partnerships that could make it work, to aggregate costs and provide the high broadband capabilities.

 

Capt. Spalding suggested that Chair Burtner meet in a smaller group in the next week or two to make sure that all of his concerns were addressed, because what Capt. Spalding had heard previously from Chair Burtner was not quite the same as what had been discussed at this meeting. Capt. Spalding further noted that before P.D.'s project goes back to Council, he wants to make sure both sides are happy with the end product. Capt. Spalding requested that the TWG consider that P.D. has a sense of urgency regarding their project because of the downtown issues, and the City Manager wants to move forward with this as soon as possible. Capt. Spalding provided his phone number to the TWG members and asked that they contact him if they had any questions.

 

Mr. Stover thanked Capt. Spalding, Lt. Matson, and Mr. Draper for joining the TWG's meeting and for their time in providing information regarding P.D.'s project.

 

Ms. Hall noted Engineering was to have attended the meeting to discuss the proposed fiber plan for P.D., but that their representative had been detained. Engineering provided a copy of the plan which Capt. Spalding gave to Ms. Hall for the TWG's review.

 

Mr. Stover asked about the process of bringing another commissioner to the table. Ms. Hall pointed out that the City Manager would have to approve the assignment of a staff person to the committee. Ms. Hall suggested that, as the City's IT Manager, she determine which IT projects are going on in the city and she can be the spokesperson bringing that information back to the TWG, and if the TWG wanted additional information, they could invite specific individuals working on those projects to come to the committee for discussion.

 

Mr. Stover expressed concern about getting the information and bringing them into the equation as soon as possible, considering P.D.'s short timeline.

 

Ms. Hall suggested that the TWG 1) make sure all of Chair Burtner's questions are answered, and 2) meet with Assistant to the City Manager Rob Ferrier and City Manager Chris Meyer to determine how the TWG ties the two projects together and then bring back a report to the TWG as to what the City Manager would be recommending.

 

Mr. Ferrier suggested that the TWG come back with some kind of formal recommendation, basically reporting that the TWG has met with the Police Department and Engineering, and discussed their concerns. Mr. Ferrier noted that Council had been quite adamant that projects such as P.D.'s should be routed through the Technology Working Group, and the TWG should provide a formal recommendation about what Council should be considering.

Ms. Hall suggested that before the project goes back to Council the TWG needs to have answers for Council and that 1) the project has met the TWG's needs, and 2) how is it that the TWG will piggyback their project onto P.D.'s. Mr. Ferrier agreed.

 

Mr. Carter recommended that, with proper approval, the TWG accept P.D.'s offer to have one of their staff members either sit on the TWG or sit in on the TWG's meetings. He noted that it would provide more efficient communication between the two bodies as to what is trying to be accomplished. He noted a real willingness from P.D. to work with the TWG.

Ms. Hall and Mr. Ferrier pointed out that the committee cannot appoint someone to the TWG – members are appointed by Council.

 

Mr. Samantello suggested that Chair Burtner could establish a subcommittee of the TWG to sit in on P.D.'s discussions, or Chair Burtner could work through the proper channels to have P.D. staff assigned to the committee in order to follow up on Capt. Spalding's suggestion.

Mr. Anderson stated that it appeared to him that the TWG's concerns had been addressed as a result of today's discussion. He pointed out that the initial concern had been whether they had considered integrating the wireless system with their cameras. He noted that P.D.'s answer had been fairly succinct – they wanted a high frame rate, fairly high definition video that's highly secure. The other issue was could the TWG's project dovetail with their fiber laying, and he noted that, again, P.D. had said yes, so Mr. Anderson noted that the TWG's concerns had all been addressed, and questioned why the TWG needed anyone to sit on the committee.

 

Mr. Stover noted that he did not disagree, but that it was nice to see that others want to share in the process at this point, noting that it was unfortunate that it's taken so long to get to that point.

 

ITEMS FOR NEXT MEETING

To be determined.

 

PUBLIC COMMENTS

None

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

None.

 

ADJOURNMENT

With no further business, Vice Chair Stover asked for a motion to adjourn. The motion to adjourn was made by Robb Port and seconded by Mike Carter. The meeting was adjourned at 10:30 a.m.

 

The next meeting date to be determined.

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