• United States



Joe’s Gatehouse

Jul 30, 20082 mins
Access ControlCritical InfrastructureDisaster Recovery

The only way through the perimeter fence at Joe's Office is through the manned gatehouse, which features several measures for stopping a determined intruder

The first security measure Joe passes on his way into work is actually several hundred yards from the office, at the gatehouse.

At the property entrance, there are two lanes – one going in and one going out – with the gatehouse between them. Fixed cameras capture the make and license plate of each vehicle as well as the driver’s face. All this is mapped to a database. The guard inside the station can see if Joe is driving the car make and model listed in his employee record, and can check to make sure it’s the right license plate. It can be set up to also match his face to the face in the employee directory. This process can be applied to delivery trucks as well.

The guard also has a list of expected visitors provided by the visitor management system (more on that when Joe gets to the lobby). Unexpected visitors and deliveries are generally turned away.

And what’s to stop a determined intruder?

As he passes the gatehouse, Joe drives over a patterned area in the road. This is where the auto-blocking technology is located. Joe has opted for a safety net, almost literally – a GRAB-sp, for Ground Retractable Automobile Barrier from Universal Safety Response.

This netlike device is far enough past the gatehouse that if someone tried to force his way through, the guard could still pull it up in time to stop him. The GRAB system would more or less fulfill its name, stopping vehicles of up to 80,000 pounds in a considerably less destructive manner than retractable bollards do. (Although Joe greatly enjoyed watching numerous vendors’ truck-ramming-bollards videos during his evaluation phase.)

These are not cheap systems; it might cost more than $100,000 to put a vehicle restraining system in one lane. But the gatehouse is the critical access point in the offices perimeter defense.