Published in March 2005

NYPD’S EOC Serves Multiple Purposes
By Jim Stokes

The NYPD EOC is equipped with digital videowall, two 63" plasmas, five 50" plasmas and a digital projector to view 86 cameras in 96 configurations.

New York City is in good audiovisual hands.

     Let’s set the stage for our story by putting you in New York City in an exciting large-scale event. You’re with the rest of the crowd attending a parade. Or watching the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Or celebrating New Year’s Eve at Times Square. Or attending a political convention. From Times Square to Wall Street and all around New York, there are many sights to see. In a large crowd, however, we may also be seen by camera “eyes.” Large crowds are prone to demonstrations and other crises where public safety might be threatened. Thus, in addition to an ample supply of New York’s police on-site, you can be assured that large events are under video surveillance as well, viewed in the NYPD Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 1 Police Plaza, underneath the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Site Data/Chronology
     It’s interesting to note how the system evolved. According to Detective Ray Blaize, the NYPD key technical person behind the EOC, the Command and Control Center (former EOC name) was placed into service in 1986. The first major renovation, started in late 1999 and completed in early 2000, included a new Crestron control system in the Situation Room. The Situation Room is an area located on the forward section of the EOC. It’s separated from the EOC by a full length glass partition. During an EOC activation, the Situation Room provides a “think tank area” for the executive staff members. The room is equipped with multiple plasma screens and computer terminals, as well as a touchpanel, which makes all the video and RGB feeds available for assignment.

RNC Provides Opportunity

     The success and popularity of the Crestron system prompted an expansion to cover the entire Command Center. “Security needs and funding that were outlined for the 2004 Republican National Convention (RNC) provided the perfect opportunity to begin the project,” said Blaize. Held August 30 through September 2 in New York, the 2004 RNC drew approximately 50,000 participants to the area. The large-scale event also attracted as many as 250,000 protestors. “Anytime we have a presidential visit, the Command Center is activated and we have representatives from all the different agencies, including Secret Service, FBI, National Guard, FAA, state police and fire department, among others,” said Detective Blaize. More than 100 official agencies may be represented.
     The EOC’s design stage took more than two months. After additional months of equipment procurement, the project got underway. Because of the extensive use of the room, the entire project had to be completed in a scant two weeks. The room was renamed the Emergency Operations Center in early 2004. The EOC is used daily for various duties, which include such statistical units as CompStat, TrafficStat and NarcoStat, among other groups [see the glossary of statistical units for details about these groups]. However, during a crisis, the room becomes transformed to handle 100-plus different agency representatives, as mentioned. (We are using the terms “Command Center” and “EOC” interchangeably here.)
     Fortunately for the NYPD, Det. Blaize’s knowledge and expertise honed from his extensive AV hobby background was applied to a professional EOC install. Specifically, his job description includes the design, installation and maintenance of Command Center/EOC locations, citywide. Lt. Barney Carrasquillo heads the EOC staff. In addition to Det. Blaize, other personnel include Detectives John Anderson and Frank Randall, and Police Officers Thomas Schill, Jimmy Lew and Sean Farmer.
     According to Excel Media Systems’ director of technical sales Michael Assael, CTS, the New York City-based AV company supplied the equipment and co-designed the system. Assael noted that MDCI/Millennium Design Concepts, Manalapan NJ, was Excel’s business partner and subcontractor. MDCI president John Campanella developed a functional working system and program, which included Crestron programming. “We provided the equipment, then coordinated the engineering with Ray Blaize on-site, downloading, testing and debugging the system,” explained Assael. “The actual installation, cable-pulling and terminations were done by Ray and the NYPD technical team.”
     Blaize noted that he spent a couple of days with MDCI’s Campanella in New Jersey going over the Crestron programming. “All the vendors were great,” he said. “John Campanella was here [at the EOC] at 4 o’clock in the morning with me, making sure all the bugs were worked out in time for the 7 o’clock meeting the same morning! So he was great!”
     Regarding other equipment, NYPD provided the plasma screens. The DOT cameras were existing. However Pelco cameras were supplied by Total Recall, Suffern NY. The existing sound system was designed and installed by Monte Brothers, Dobbs Ferry NY.

     For this final phase of the EOC AV install, Det. Blaize explained, “We gutted the entire room. All the displays are new. All the control equipment is new. We upgraded a lot of different areas.” Crestron Rack2 processors work in conjunction with five TPS6000 tabletop touchpanels and one TPS6000L mounted in an equipment rack. There are a total of five racks.
     In our journey through the EOC, we’ll cover the displays, media hardware and feeds. “The beauty of the room is that there’s no set way anything is presented,” said Det. Blaize. “It’s all according to the needs of the crisis. During most CompStat meetings, most of the projectors are used for just maps and different graphs showing different trends. Every now and then, pictures are put up of different areas of Manhattan for certain concerns such as traffic conditions. Actual pictures of traffic backups are presented, so the commanding officers from the precincts can see what they’re up against.”
     Displays include five Digital Projection projectors. Three Highlite models face the front and one faces the rear of the room. Then an I-Vision model covers the right side of the room. “As far as Digital Projection is concerned, we’ve had a lot of success using their products,” said Det. Blaize. A 3x3 videowall of nine, 50-inch Christie DLP projection cubes is used to view the different surveillance cameras located throughout the city. “There can be up to 88 feeds on the videowall at one time,” said Det. Blaize. “The way the feeds are broken down, there are small packets of cameras that handle certain hot spots. Even though these cameras may be located in one location, with the zoom capability we could literally see 12 blocks away without a problem. If there’s a demonstration somewhere, most of the video feeds are for that one area. There’s no reason to look at Times Square if we have a demonstration in the downtown Wall Street area. We concentrate on the area of concern.”
     Three Samsung and nine Panasonic plasmas as well as one NEC LCD monitor are located strategically within the EOC. Then there are two Marshall LCD rack-mounted monitors. “In addition, each of the TPS6000s is equipped with both a composite video and an RGB video card,” Det. Blaize pointed out, “so we can pull up and preview a source on the touchpanel monitor that shows us what we’re about to route, then send it.”

Hardware Control, Media
     Hardware control is via two Extron matrix switchers. An MAV 64x64 handles all the composite video and a Crosspoint 32x32 RGB matrix handles all the different inputs around the entire EOC as well as the Situation Room. “We also have capability to hook up laptops brought in by guests,” said Det. Blaize. “If they want to do PowerPoint from anywhere on the table, from the podium or even from inside the Situation Room, it can be sent anywhere throughout the EOC.”
     Media hardware accessed from the rack includes a bevy of DVD/VCR and S-VHS decks, cable converters and DSS receivers. For instance, RF tuners are used for the more than 200 DOT traffic cameras. “We have an Appro HiRes color quad processor we put different images in when we want to send to other locations that can only get one feed from us,” explained Det. Blaize. A Tandberg 880 video teleconferencing codec is employed city-wide.” In addition to the Tandberg codec camera, any one of the Command Center cameras can be sent via the Tandberg. Thus, any of the Command Center meetings could be videoconferenced. “I can send it to the Bronx, to our Intel Center and just about anywhere in the city that has another Tandberg.” Although we’ll cover the sound system later, Det. Blaize mentioned that the Audio-Technica mics located in the EOC can be fed into the Tandberg’s audio input. “There are microphone positions [in the u-shaped EOC table] that cover each seat,” he stated. “In addition to the fixed-mount mics, there are four wireless mics that can be handed out and passed around.”

More than 300 Camera Eyes
     The facility has more than 318 camera feeds. Eighty Pelco Spectra PTZ cameras are employed citywide via PelcoNet, which runs across existing Ethernet networks. These cameras were installed by Total Recall, Suffern NY, specifically for the Republican National Convention. And they’ll remain in control indefinitely. Most of the Pelcos are covering various areas of Manhattan. In addition, there are more than 200 DOT (Department of Transportation) cameras that are controlled by DOT, with their signals sent to the EOC via RF transmission.
     Microwave feeds include Metro- Traffic from the Empire State Building and NYPD Aviation Air. Then there are NYPD TARU (Technical Assistance Response Unit) cameras via fiber. Within the Police Plaza, security camera feeds include three Sony EVID30 CCD cameras to record CompStat meetings. Other feeds include Time Warner’s analog and digital cable, DirecTV DSS satellite and Dish Network DSS International satellite. In addition, there are 32 various computer feeds throughout the EOC and adjoining Situation Room.

Sound System
     For the existing sound system, Det. Blaize worked with Monte Brothers Sound, Dobbs Ferry NY. The system is a combination of three Biamp processors: two Audia Flex and one Audia Solo. In the event of one processor failure, Whirlwind combiners and a Biamp Logic Box are used to keep the system up and running. Signals are fed into multi-channel Crown amplifiers and CAMM DT Series (Custom Audio Manufacturing of Maine) speakers located throughout the center.
     Audio-Technica hardwired and wireless mics are used within the facility. Thirty-eight AT859B table mics are installed in the EOC’s u-shaped table. The mics are mounted on goosenecks located in hideaway trays. In addition, three AT859Bs are attached to podiums located in the front and side of the room. Four AT ESW T214 wireless UHF mics are used for guests and Q&As.

• TARU (Technical Assistance Response Unit) is comprised of uniformed and civilian members of the NYPD dedicated to video surveillance.
• CompStat unit analyzes overall crime statistics and patterns. The information is then translated into maps and bar graphs, which are used for discussion during weekly meetings. These meetings are hosted by the executive staff and include the commanding officers from the precincts concerned along with their supporting staff.
• TrafficStat unit follows the same instruction as CompStat, although concentrates on traffic-related issues. Thus, parking conditions, excessive traffic problems, accident-prone locations and other quality-of-life issues are addressed and presented weekly to the executive staff.
• NarcoStat unit also follows the CompStat template, but its scope is narcotics enforcement. Because of the sensitivity of these meetings, no guests are ever allowed to sit in. Only a small group of executive members attend this meeting. In order to protect the identity of undercover officers as well as informants, little data is ever released regarding this unit.

Detective Ray Blaize checks hte touchpanel while controlling the EOC from his adjacent office.


Detective Ray Blaize shows off the equipment rack housing the control system.

Control System
2 Crestron Rack 2 rack card systems
2 Crestron C2ENET1 Ethernet cards
11 Crestron C2COM3 3-port com cards
5 Crestron C2IR8 8 position IR cards
5 Crestron TPS6000 Isys 15" touchpanels
1 Crestron TPS6000LB Isys 15" wall-mount touchpanel
6 Crestron TPSVID1 video cards
6 Crestron TPSXVGA VGA cards
1 Crestron CNXRY8 relay card
2 Crestron C2SPW300 300W power supplies
1 Crestron TPSNET 10/100 Base T Ethernet card
Display Equipment
9 Christie 50" DLP projection cubes
4 Digital Projection Highlite 6000DSX multimedia projectors
1 Digital Projection I-Vision 3500SX 3500 lumen digital projector
2 Marshall 8" color LCD monitors
1 NEC 15" LCD monitor
5 Panasonic 50" plasma screens
4 Panasonic 42" plasma screens
3 Samsung 63" plasma screens
1 Stewart Filmscreen Luxus Screen Wall 100"x315"
rear-projection screen
1 Appro Hi-Res color quad processor
2 Channel Master RF tuners
1 Dish Network DSS receiver
1 Extron Crosspoint 32x32 RGB matrix w/audio
1 Extron Mav 64x64 video matrix switch w/audio
1 General Instruments CFT 2200 analog cable converter
1 Kramer PIP 200 PiP inserter
1 Leitch RCP32P routing switcher
2 Panasonic S-VHS VCRs
6 Pioneer 3500 digital cable converters
2 RCA DSS receivers
3 Sony DVD/VCR combo decks
3 Sony EVID30 CCD PTZ remote color cameras
1 Tandberg 880 videoconference codec
Video Feeds
2 DirecTV DSS satellite feeds
1 Dish Network DSS international satellite feed
200+ DOT traffic cameras (via RF transmission)
16 MetroTraffic cameras (via microwave)
4 NYPD TARU cameras (via fiber)
2 NYPD aviation air cameras (via microwave)
16 NYPD 1 Police Plaza security cameras
80 Pelco Spectra PTZ cameras citywide (via Pelconet)
1 Time Warner analog cable feed
6 Time Warner digital cable feeds
41 Audio-Technica AT859B table mics
4 Audio-Technica ESW T214 wireless UHF mics
1 Biamp logic box
2 Biamp Audia Flex processors
1 Biamp Audia Solo processor
CAMM DT Series speakers
Crown multi-channel amps
Whirlwind combiners
RGB Feeds
32 various computer feeds throughout the EOC and Situation Room.
Alternate Outputs
Outputs to The Police Commissioner’s Executive Command Center
Outputs to The Chief of Departments Conference Room
Outputs to The Real Time Crime Center

List is edited from information supplied by the New York Police Department.

MDCI/Millennium Design Concepts, Inc.
MDCI/Millennium Design Concepts, Inc., with offices in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut, offers a full array of AV services for residential, corporate, educational and seaworthy vessel projects. Services include design/build, technical manuals, AV production, engineering, control system programming, software development and website development.

Detective Ray Blaize
Detective Ray Blaize is responsible for the design, installation and maintenance of the Command Center/EOC. His other unit responsibilities include telco installation and maintenance, network administration and security, and fiscal accounting. Blaize was appointed to the NYPD in April 1991 and served eight years on patrol. In October 1999, he was transferred to the EOC, then promoted to detective in September 2002.

Excel Media Systems
Located in the heart of New York City, Excel Media Systems is a full-service provider of integrated audiovisual, multimedia presentation and conference systems for training rooms, boardrooms, conference rooms and auditoriums. Provided are engineering, installation, design, documentation, fabricating and integration services. In addition, Excel has a videoconferencing room available for use on an hourly or daily basis.

Sound & Communications Contributing Editor Jim Stokes has been involved in the AV industry for 33 years as an AV technician and recording studio designer among other areas.

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