The Lancaster County Drug Testing Office, part of the Lancaster County Community Corrections Department located in Lincoln, Nebraska, provides random and scheduled drug testing for the court system and probation office. With 40 employees, the office’s focus is on pre-trial diversion to keep people out of the criminal justice system. The City of Lincoln and Lancaster County have been long-time Inteconnex customers.
According to Kim Etherton, Director for Lancaster County Community Corrections, close to 1,000 people come through the door of the Drug Testing Office each day. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it created a serious risk for Etherton, her team and those they serve. “With all the people coming into our office each day, it seemed like we needed to get a handle on who is not well when they walk through our doors. Our goal was to capture accurate temperature readings to identify people who are actively ill and not allow them entry to reduce risk of spreading infection,” said Etherton.
The nature of the office’s work created additional challenges to finding an ideal solution for taking the temperatures of people entering the facility. Jeff Schulz, Sales Engineer for Inteconnex, explained, “The drug testing office serves people who don’t want to be there and don’t want to be identified on a daily basis, which makes asking them to stand in front of a camera and get their temperature taken just another annoyance. So, we needed to find a way that was accurate, discrete, and automated (unmanned) to make the clients feel a little less ‘handled.’”
Layout and the personal nature of the work added layers of complexity. According to Etherton, “Our staff is very close in proximity to the people coming in. Temperature reading needed to be quick due to the volume of people coming through our front door and the fact that there is physically not a lot of space between the door and the front desk—we couldn’t have a backlog/people getting stopped and the solution had to be something that could either be manned with a person or unmanned, without staff.”
Schulz worked with Etherton to carefully research and install a Viper Systems/Flir A400 Elevated Body Temperature (EBT) Screening Kiosk, which is a movable unit, working in the tight quarters of the entryway of Etherton’s facility.
According to Schulz, the Viper Systems/Flir A400 EBT isn’t the typical temperature screening system and is more accurate.
“The real value of this particular EBT system is that it is designed to read the temperature of the canthus of the eye near the tear duct and provide an alert to staff that a possible danger may be present. This reading is closer to the actual core body temperature which is much more accurate than the vast majority of scanners being marketed that merely measure the temperature of the skin on the face or forehead."
“Mind you, no temperature scanning device will tell anyone if you have COVID-19 or any other illness. All of these cameras and scanners were designed to be used as screening devices, not medical devices and merely represent a front line proactive and precautionary step which when combined with additional measures as dictated by medical professionals can help prevent the spread of an infectious disease.”
The EBT Screening Kiosk has worked well for Etherton’s department and achieved their goal of detecting fever while not impeding traffic flow. “It’s easy to use and the clients actually think it’s fun. We have detected some fevers and we’ve been able to be hands-off and maintain distance as people are getting screened.”
Because of the location of the EBT Screening Kiosk, there was some additional troubleshooting and calibration that needed to be done to perfect the installation.
Because of the location of the EBT Screening Kiosk, there was some additional troubleshooting and calibration that needed to be done to perfect the installation. “Because we have it installed in our entryway, there is a lot of glass, we needed to adjust the calibration and location to ensure accurate readings. Inteconnex was very solution oriented and helped us resolve this. Throughout the whole process, from research to execution, they were great at coming up with a viable, creative solution that works well for our location.”
Inteconnex has been the preferred provider of access control and surveillance equipment to Lancaster County for a number of years. The drug testing office had been referred to Inteconnex by County officers and other departments as they were looking into a solution to help them identify possible COVID-19 spreaders.
“There were a number of options that were less costly but would have required too much staff—we wanted to make sure this temperature screening system could be fairly hands-off. We were also able to get a grant that covered some of the cost and allowed us to purchase this system that better met our needs,” said Etherton. “Inteconnex came highly recommended and is a great vendor to work with. It has taken me by surprise how easy it was to get this system implemented.”
Schulz is pleased with the solution Inteconnex was able to design for the Lancaster County Drug Testing Office.
“I feel this was an example of how Inteconnex can observe, recognize, and adapt to the challenges that come our way so that we can continue to provide the right products and services that our clients have come to expect from us, to make them feel safe and secure.”
Inteconnex is a leading physical security integrator with offices in Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado. The company designs and installs comprehensive security environments with customized and fully networked capability. The highly trained staff at Inteconnex has roots in information technology, providing customers with unrivaled technical expertise, service and the highest performing systems for today’s increasingly complex and networked world of advanced security.