The Vermont Department of Public Safety Improves Security
- A Savance EIOBoard Client Case Study
"We really needed a secure way to protect critical evidence from people coming and going from the labs."
State of Vermont Public Safety
The Vermont Department of Public Safety (DPS) is a state government agency that administers and manages the state's first responders and their support services. These agencies include the State Police, The Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Fire Safety, and Criminal Justice Services. The Department's offices and support facilities are primarily located in one central building. Included in this building are the Forensics Laboratory and the Emergency Operations Center. The building also includes Administrative offices, Accounting offices, the Vermont Criminal Information Center, and others. The Forensics Laboratory is one side of the building and the other offices take up another side of the building.
Forensics laboratories across the country face similar problems, and the results of their work are very important to a successful criminal justice system. Forensic laboratory work must be above suspicion. Procedures must be followed exactly and results documented and cataloged accurately. Security is also a concern. Laboratory experts must be able to communicate with each other quickly and seamlessly. Forensic laboratory results, procedures, and protocols are constantly scrutinized by defense counsel and civil liberties organizations.
The lab must be secured to outside visitors or other members of DPS to insure the viability of evidence and prevent any hint of contamination. "We really needed a secure way to protect critical evidence from people coming and going from the labs." says Drew Emory, Help Desk Manager. Within the laboratory, employees must be able to communicate with each other as efficiently as possible. Management and employees must know where their employees are and available for communication or task assignment.
Recognizing the many challenges facing forensic laboratories, Vermont's Department of Public Safety decided to implement EIOBoard's electronic in and out solution to address many of those challenges.
Given the progressive nature of a forensic lab, the initial implementation process was smooth and met with little resistance among the Forensic Laboratory personnel. They saw the benefits and how the system could improve their work. Management, staff, and workers understand the both the software system and the hardware. There is ongoing gradual buy-in to that system and process amongst all of DPS personnel, but it is moving along and returning the results desired.
Once the Department of Public Safety's management experienced success with EIOBoard in the Forensic Laboratory, they saw the advantage to expand EIOBoard to cover the rest of the DPS building. "The EIOBoard system worked so well for Forensics, we've implemented it into the rest of the DPS" - Drew Emory. Since the Emergency Operations Center is unsecured, knowing and documenting the presence of DPS personnel and outside visitors is very important. DPS management wanted to know who is in the building at any time and where they are. They also wanted to make sure that unauthorized people are only where they should be. The Operations Center became a point of check-in and check-out for management, staff, and visitors.
The Complete Solution
After the initial success with Forensics, the Department of Public Safety eventually purchased enough equipment and software to implement EIOBoard throughout the entire building. Items they purchased and put to use include:
- Intranet software.
- Touchscreen kiosks to cover the building.
- HID Proximity Card Readers.
- EIOBoard Emergency Mustering solution with corresponding hardware.
- Additional software training for employees.
The Vermont Department of Public Safety placed equipment in the primary check-in locations, including the Forensic Laboratory, and the Emergency Operations Center. Check-in uses the employees' ID cards along with HID prox card readers attached to the kiosks. There are 2,000 people in DPS's active directory, all of whom can use their state-issued employee ID cards to check-in and enter the building. The below drawing shows the proposed layout of DPS's EIOBoard configuration.
With the implementation of EIOBoard, access issues were resolved. Before the implementation of EIOBoard, there was no way to track people inside the building. Now, however, management and staff allows or denies access to employees and outsiders as they wish, and are able to view the location of employees and visitors throughout the building. This secures the laboratory and the rest of the building. "We now have a secure way of protecting critical evidence" said Drew Emory. The laboratory's resulting higher level of security enhances and insures the viability of evidence collected and processed. Laboratory employees use EIOBoard's chat feature to increase and encourage constant communication among them. EIOBoard also integrates with Outlook, so planning and task management can be improved with a better idea of how and where employees spend their time.
EIOBoard eliminated the need for paper and pencil sign-in among employees. Installation and set-up were easy and upgrades have become easier to use. Day-to-day use by employees is also easy.
Controlled access increases the security of offices and individuals. Management knows where to locate employees and staff when they are needed providing a quick return on the initial investment through improved productivity.
Overall, the positive results of the implementation of EIOBoard fuel the motivation to continue implementation and spread the use of more features as staff becomes more comfortable with the new system.