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In Dunwoody, Ga., Police Use RFID to Open Gates

More than 30 gated communities in the city are installing technology to ensure that police vehicles that arrive at locked gates can obtain automatic entrance.
By Claire Swedberg
Aug 19, 2015

When officers of the Dunwoody Police Department, in Georgia, respond to calls in their city, there is a good chance that the individual in need of help will live in one of the area’s 30-plus gated communities. Until now, an officer needed to refer to a list of access codes, find the numerical code for a specific locked gate, and enter that code manually into the gate’s keypad. Often they found that the gate’s access code had been changed but the list had not been updated accordingly. Therefore, while a victim of a medical emergency, domestic violence or a robbery may be awaiting assistance, officers have needed to get creative to gain entrance through the gate, says Timothy Fecht, the Dunwoody police department’s public information officer.

The solution to the problem is being installed in all gated communities in Dunwoody, in observance of the city’s new Emergency Vehicles Access to Gated Communities ordinance, which requires the installation of an active RFID system known as SOS Silent. The technology, provided by a company called Siren Operated Sensor (SOS), ensures officers can gain entrance automatically via a battery-powered RFID tag in their vehicle, and a receiver integrated in the gate locking system.

Dunwoody Police Dept.’s Timothy Fecht
Fecht says the problem came to the attention of the city council when Dunwoody Councilmember Terry Nall spent a day accompanying officers on their rounds. Nall noticed that the community gates were in some cases causing delays in emergency response while officers searched for the proper access code. Often, Fecht says, the communities will change access codes, for instance when they hire a new gate management company, and they don’t always let police know when those access codes change. To gain entrance, officers waiting at a closed gate have needed to flag down assistance from a nearby resident, or even randomly dial phone numbers of residents inside, asking them to unlock that barrier.

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