Saturday, November 03, 2007

60 'channels' with plenty to watch (except the final score)

Last week I received a call from the Support Service Captain of our University Police Department, asking if I would like to start working for them running their camera system for selected sporting events. He explained that they had a new system being installed with the number of cameras being too great for their current staff to be able to maintain along with their other duties.  Being that I have been offering to help out in their Command Post for the past few years, I quickly agreed to the request.

Interesting side note: When I was an officer with the PD, this Captain was a Lieutenant and was responsible for my getting involved in computers and information technology items way back in the dark ages.


Fast forward to today... After arriving at the PD and getting my press box credentials, I went to the squad room to attend my first police briefing in a dozen years.  In the room were many officers I had worked with previously, a couple I had trained and several new faces.  About halfway through the meeting and before I had been introduced, Renee (my lovely bride) called me.  In case you are wondering, this is the ring-tone I have for her:



       Yep, that is Hot Legs (by Rod Stewart)

       Yep, my phone wasn't on silent

       Yep, I answered the phone and exited the room very quickly

       .... and, Yep I turned several shades of RED


Once I returned to the meeting, I was introduced as a former officer who had been asked back to run the new camera system at the stadium.  After the normal police humor was shared and laughed about, the briefing was adjourned and all were transported to the stadium.


Once I got to the stadium I was presented with:


   (click on pictures for larger versions)


What you see here are eight monitors, controlling four zones of cameras.  Each zone uses two monitors, one showing either 14 or 16 images from the zone cameras and the other showing a full size image of the particular camera being controlled.  I used the first hour or so learning the system controls, which worked out fine considering we got to our locations a few hours before the game began.  Once the stadium started filling up, I was able to quickly focus one, if not more, camera(s) on the areas officers were dispatched to for various issues.  Everything considered, it was a good day.


Well, it was a good day, if you didn't consider the football game.  Someday the Cowboys will understand there are four complete quarters to play.  All was good and then ... Poof! Just like that, a 21-point, mid-third-quarter Oklahoma State lead vanished before my very eyes.


Yep, Texas scored 24 unanswered points to come from behind.  They kicked the winning field goal with 0:00 left on the clock!

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