Seeking modernization for its celebrated capitol, the State of Tennessee completed a comprehensive overhaul of all security systems while preserving the historical significance of the complex. Vandalism had prompted a new master plan, with over one million dollars in upgrades applied across the campus of the urban Nashville landmark.
Tasked with protecting the historic venue, systems were designed to survey the structures and grounds of the complex. These include monitoring the House and Senate chambers, original state Supreme Court, and the Governor’s office. Public safety was also of concern, including tourists participating in guided tours of the capitol, meeting with representatives in the legislative plaza, and walking the scenic property taking in pieces of U.S. and Civil War history. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) concepts maximize potential viewpoints from adjacent buildings, establishing well-guarded areas while leaving the land itself virtually undisturbed. These strategies implemented across the remainder of the property safeguard monuments to the Tennessee-born U.S. Presidents Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnston, and the tomb of President James Polk.
Discretely-positioned cameras at various locations are programmed and controlled to capture the capitol’s contents without interrupting official government business. Infrared illuminators and high-sensitivity day/night cameras support live monitoring and recording needs. Access control systems are designed and programmed to work closely with camera systems, alerting security staff to suspicious activity and providing high-resolution video footage of anyone exiting or entering the facilities or grounds. Security staff utilizes image analysis software, giving state law enforcement the capability to obtain facial and license plate recognition. The members of the legislature access their offices through an optical turnstile “fast lane,” while the general public is carefully screened using magnetometers and scanned by the computer managed system. This “inner perimeter” of restricted space ensures separation between representatives, staff, and visitors. This comprehensive upgrade of security systems helps deter would-be assailants, while providing safe access to the public.