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August 20, 2019

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McCarran’s new cutting-edge camera system to upgrade surveillance


Chris Carlson / AP

In this June 9, 2012, photo, travelers crowd Terminal 3 at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.

McCarran International Airport is enhancing its security operations with a new camera system.

The Transportation Security Administration proposed a $9 million grant to upgrade the closed-circuit television system and Clark County will add “a couple of million dollars” to match for the camera upgrades, according to Rosemary Vassiliadis, director of aviation at McCarran.

New cameras will be installed at all baggage screening areas, checkpoints, Terminals 1 and 3 parking garages, exit lanes and other key areas of security at the airport. McCarran won’t need the same number of cameras currently in use.

“So, we’ll actually get to reduce the number of cameras we have with the upgrade because we’re getting what they call 360 cameras (can rotate around 360 degrees),” Vassiliadis said. “Today we have point tilt zoom, where an operator can go in and zoom in on everything manually, but this way it will be automatic.”

The new system will be able to pinpoint suspicious activity and determine whether additional response, including law enforcement, is needed.

The project is in the planning phase, which is expected to take six to nine months. After the planning stage, the construction phase is expected to take a year.

No new wiring will be required as part of the upgrade. The airport is in the process of selecting a construction manager at risk to minimize the length of time the airport is impacted from the project.

“Cameras are an important part in these kinds of security processes, so it was a win-win (for the airport and the TSA),” Vassiliadis said. “Overall it improves safety, and that’s important.”

Each piece of luggage has to be scanned and put through an explosive detection screening. The current setup is outdated.

“Our system is old, but it’s still very good,” Vassiliadis said. “It’s old and technology improves daily, so 10 to 12 years later TSA took a look at us and said it’s time to upgrade the system.”

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