This is the fourth installation in our multi-part series that takes a closer look at control room design across the industry spectrum. In the first three installments, we focused on the Surveillance & Security, Airport/Air Traffic, and Emergency Operations/Disaster Management industries respectively.
Today, we are going to turn our attention to Law Enforcement and Correctional Facilities, an area where Inracks brings its A-game when it comes to console furniture solutions. Availability of state of the art CCTV, surveillance gizmos, and other top-notch security systems means that law enforcement and correctional facilities can keep at the tab on what’s going on in their jurisdictions right from the comfort of their control rooms.
Control Room Challenges in the Industry
One of the biggest challenges that’s often encountered in law enforcement and correctional sectors is ensuring the comfort of their control room staff. They usually put in long, odd hours, especially overnight, to make sure that everything is up to scratch. After all, any mishap in the manning of these facilities can come with dire consequences.
That’s why law correctional facilities and law enforcement must go for top-notch command center furniture. Uncomfortable, poorly designed or insufficient consoles can have adverse effects on the workers as they can cause back pain, acute aches, and even long-term injuries that can end up distracting officers manning the nerve centers of these mission-critical facilities. Creating a next-level control room is important for so many reasons, especially in law enforcement where lives are on the line, so much so that even Microsoft has gotten on board to make this one of their offerings.
If you are here, the chances are that you are gearing towards upgrading your law enforcement or correctional facilities and are considering your options with regard to control room consoles. The chances are also good that you are privy to the innovations in ergonomic types of console furniture in the past 10 years or so. But, do you know the key considerations that are specific to law enforcement & correctional market?
Like most industries we have looked at in previous articles, control room design for law enforcement and correctional facilities is primarily influenced by regulations at local, state, and federal level. It’s crucial for you to understand these legal and compliance regulations that may apply to you.
Those planning in law enforcement (which would include security command centers, NOC Network Operations Centers, mission critical facilities, 911 emergency dispatch centers, etc) usually have to consider a number of design factors, including:
- Line of sight
In law enforcement or a prison system/environment, security is of paramount importance, but even more so in the control room. After all, this is the nerve center and the core of law enforcement and correctional activities. This goes beyond run-of-the-mill physical safety concerns of the law enforcement and correctional officers; the control room design should account for the security of sensitive information contained therein, as well.
With that being said, control centers in law enforcement should be designed and implemented with both data privacy and physical security in mind. More specifically, security safeguards should be taken into consideration in terms of a control room’s console compatibility, visibility, technology usage, and furniture setup or orientation.
Law enforcement and correctional facilities often work in tandem with several other state, local, and federal agencies. This is something that should come as the top priority when considering command center furniture. Remember, police officers must be able to share time-sensitive and security-heavy information with other stations and other agencies like the DEA, the court systems, and even emergency paramedics.
Law enforcement & correctional control centers should have the capacity to communicate internally and with the outside world, and that can be achieved through the installation of:
- Fax lines
- External telephone lines
- Local warning system operability
- Emergency communication equipment
- Radio tower for mutual aid and interagency operations
It doesn’t matter if you are adding command center or dispatch console furniture (fixed-height vs adjustable-height), sustainability should be given precedence. That in and of itself should not come as a surprise because all control rooms in the correctional and law enforcement world usually run 24/7, 365 days a year. Crime or necessity for the police doesn’t take a weekend or holiday off. And, therefore, the command centers should have the capability to handle around the clock, year-round activity.
Also, the control room design should be able to withstand both natural and man-made catastrophes. Oftentimes that means setting up control centers with prison riots, terrorist attacks, and other unforeseen occurrences in mind. The alternative power generators should be set up in a manner that they should be able to supply enough power needed to run IT equipment, electrical apparatus, elevators, HVAC, and other mission-critical services without any interruptions.
(4) Line of Sight
Keeping a constant eye on inmates and crime requires a clear line of sight for all control room officers. This is especially important when designing the room layout. Remember most law enforcement and correctional officers typically monitor operations that require visual confirmation, snappy collaboration, and quick thinking.
It’s a no-brainer that the officers and other key command center staff should have a clear line of sight of relevant video walls and monitors. Ergonomics of the console furniture is also something of great importance here. Good thing, Inracks has comfortable chairs and data center furniture, some of which is fitted with an adjustable-height mechanism for instant sit or stand working. These nifty ‘dispatch’ consoles do away with a ton of problems that might come up with a line of sight within law enforcement command centers.
Operations in a correctional facility or police department often eliminate the need for a room with large windows. This can compromise the security of the entire facility, as well as affect sight tolerance of the officers, long-term. Installing artificial lights that are too bright can also cause issues with officers’ eyes. These are some trivial things that you should keep top of mind when thinking about your facility’s layout.
Control rooms for correctional facilities and law enforcement must be able to adapt particularly as the number of operational officers grows. More often than not, this means planning accordingly for occupancy guidelines and enough space to accommodate new equipment and more officers.
These are just but a few considerations that go into planning, designing, and establishing control rooms for law enforcement and correctional facilities. The odds are that the reality will be more or less different and slightly more complicated. Even still, we hope that these considerations will come in handy when envision an upgrade or rebuild to your command center.