electronic access control

Enhancing Physical Security: Alvarado Turnstiles and Garrett Metal Detectors

By Alana Hanly, Security Consultant at Kenton Brothers

In an ever-evolving world, ensuring physical security is incredibly important. Businesses, public spaces, and institutions face the challenge of safeguarding their premises and protecting individuals from potential threats. Two powerful tools that contribute significantly to physical security are Alvarado turnstiles and Garrett metal detectors. In this blog, we will explore how these technologies work and discuss their valuable role in various physical security scenarios.

Alvarado Turnstiles: An Overview

Alvarado TurnstilesAlvarado turnstiles are sophisticated entry control systems designed to regulate and monitor access to premises. Depending on the type of organization, these turnstiles offer a range of features, including barrier arms, optical sensors, and biometric authentication ensuring only authorized personnel can enter a secure area. Let’s look at some scenarios where Alvarado turnstiles play a pivotal role in enhancing physical security:

Crowd Management at Public Venues

Alvarado turnstiles help efficiently manage large crowds at stadiums, arenas, and concert venues. By controlling the flow of people, these turnstiles prevent unauthorized access and ensure a smooth and orderly entry process. Additionally, they can be integrated with ticketing systems or access control software, providing real-time data for attendance tracking and capacity management, or be implemented with Alvarado’s own Gate Watch software to support your organizational needs.

Employee Access Control

Alvarado TurnstilesIn corporate settings, Alvarado turnstiles act as a reliable solution for employee access control. By implementing turnstile systems with RFID or biometric authentication, businesses can restrict entry to authorized personnel only. This helps prevent unauthorized individuals from gaining access to sensitive areas, safeguarding valuable assets and confidential information.

Transportation Hubs

Airports, train stations, and bus terminals face unique security challenges due to high volumes of people and the need to ensure restricted areas remain secure. Alvarado turnstiles enable effective access control, allowing only ticketed passengers or authorized personnel into secure zones. They can be seamlessly integrated with security systems, such as video surveillance and alarm systems, to enhance overall safety.

Garrett Metal Detectors: Enhancing Threat Detection

Garrett Metal DetectorsGarrett Metal Detectors are renowned for their advanced technology in detecting metallic objects, offering an additional layer of security in various environments. Here are some of the common scenarios where these devices are used:

Weapons Screening

In locations where public safety is a priority, such as airports, courthouses, and public buildings, Garrett metal detectors are deployed to detect concealed weapons or dangerous objects. By creating a security checkpoint, these detectors help deter potential threats and provide a reliable means of identifying individuals carrying prohibited items.

Event Security

When large gatherings, conferences, or exhibitions take place, Garrett metal detectors play a crucial role in screening attendees for any concealed weapons or dangerous objects. Their presence serves as a deterrent and assures event organizers and participants of a secure environment. These detectors can be used alongside security personnel to conduct quick and non-intrusive screenings.

Loss Prevention

Garrett Metal DetectorsIn retail settings, shoplifting and employee theft pose significant challenges. Garrett metal detectors help prevent inventory shrinkage by detecting unauthorized metal objects leaving the premises. By incorporating metal detection systems at exits, retailers can reduce theft incidents and create a safer shopping environment for customers and employees.

In closing, Alvarado turnstiles and Garrett metal detectors are valuable tools in bolstering physical security across a wide range of scenarios. Whether it’s managing crowds, controlling access to restricted areas, or enhancing threat detection, these technologies offer effective solutions for safeguarding people and assets. By implementing these systems, businesses, institutions, and public venues can create secure environments, assuring individuals of their safety and peace of mind.

If you would like to know more about these solutions, we are here to help. Please give us a call.

Building a Commercial Security Training Wall for Scenario Testing

Building a Commercial Security Training Wall for Scenario TestingA customer, Rich, recently came to us with a problem. His access control environment has three generations of Software House’s access control boards as well as a fourth type of access control board, the Edge panel. Software House has done a good job of adding features as the boards have been upgraded over the years, but this means that the older boards do not have the same feature sets as the newer ones. Understanding the capabilities of each board is not always easy.

Rich also wanted to understand some of LifeSafety’s Power Supply features, something not currently being used in his environment.

He could have separated out seven or eight of the doors in his environment and used those for testing. However, testing in the production environment could have led to customer dissatisfaction (when things didn’t go as planned.) So, our best option was to build a training wall.

The Training Wall

Building a Commercial Security Training Wall for Scenario TestingCreating a training wall with four different boards and two doors per board would take up a lot of room and be fairly costly. We ended up creating two demonstration doors where they could be switched to one of the four access control boards. One of the doors we set up as fail-secure, meaning the door is still locked if power is removed. The other door was set up as fail-safe, meaning the door is unlocked when the power is removed. We did this to demonstrate the different ways of connecting the power supply and to provide a realistic scenario that might be found in the field.

Now, Rich has a way to test the different locking scenarios with the different feature sets of each board. Since two doors are connected to the boards, he can also test read in/read out, piggybacking, tail-gating, interlocked doors, and other scenarios involving more than one door. The training wall can also serve as a training area for new programmers, or new installation crews to show how the doors should be programmed or how the wires need to be connected.

We love unique challenges.

This certainly was a unique challenge for us. It’s the first time a customer has asked us to create a training wall for them. If you need a training wall or have another unique challenge, let us know! At Kenton Brothers, we embrace new challenges. Innovation is in our blood.

Bluetooth Access Control Credentials

By Erik Andress, Sales Management Professional at Kenton Brothers

Bluetooth Access Control CredentialsBluetooth Technology

In recent years, access control systems have become an essential part of security measures in various industries, including healthcare facilities, educational institutions, government buildings, and commercial properties. These systems rely on credentials, such as keycards or fobs, to grant access to authorized individuals. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased demand for touchless access control solutions.

Bluetooth access control credentials have emerged as an innovative solution that provides enhanced security and convenience while reducing the risk of germ transmission.

What are Bluetooth Access Control Credentials?

Bluetooth Access Control CredentialsTouchless Bluetooth access control credentials are an alternative to traditional access control systems that rely on physical keys, cards, or fobs. These credentials use Bluetooth technology to communicate with a reader installed on a door or gate. Users can unlock doors or gates by simply presenting their Bluetooth-enabled device, such as a smartphone or smartwatch, to the reader.

How do Bluetooth Access Control Credentials Work?

Touchless Bluetooth access control credentials work by establishing a connection between the user’s device and the access control reader via Bluetooth. When a user approaches a door or gate, the access control reader sends a Bluetooth signal to the user’s device. The user’s device then responds with an encrypted signal that is verified by the access control reader. If the signal is authenticated, the access control reader unlocks the door or gate.

Bluetooth Access Control CredentialsWhat are the Benefits of Bluetooth Access Control Credentials?

  1. Enhanced Security: Bluetooth access control credentials provide enhanced security by reducing the risk of credential theft or loss. Traditional access control credentials, such as keycards or fobs, can be lost, stolen, or copied. However, Bluetooth access control credentials are tied to the user’s personal device and cannot be easily transferred or duplicated.
  2. Convenience: Touchless Bluetooth access control credentials provide greater convenience compared to traditional access control systems. Users no longer need to carry a physical keycard or fob with them at all times. Instead, they can simply use their smartphone or smartwatch to gain access.
  3. Reduced Germ Transmission: Bluetooth access control credentials are an effective solution for reducing the spread of germs. Traditional access control systems require users to touch keycards or fobs, which can potentially spread germs. However, Bluetooth access control credentials eliminate the need for physical contact, reducing the risk of germ transmission.
  4. Scalability: Bluetooth access control systems can be easily scaled up or down depending on the needs of the organization. Adding or removing users is a simple process that can be done remotely, providing greater flexibility and convenience.

Bluetooth Access Control CredentialsOther key benefits:

  • Works with Apple Watches
  • A Mobile Friendly App allows you to customize your experience with readers. Rename them on the phone to make them make sense to the user, put them in a Favorites tray,  hide readers your user does not have access to and customize the reading distance per door up to 30 feet.
  • Multi technology Reader – 125Khz prox, iClass CSN, iClass Classic, Mifare, Desfire EV1 and EV2, Legacy GE format and Bluetooth (iOS and Android)
  • May purchase the readers by the credential or by the reader.  If purchased by the reader then customer has unlimited credential capability at no extra charge.
  • Very secure using encrypted Bluetooth data transfer


Bluetooth access control credentials are an innovative solution that provides enhanced security, convenience, and reduced germ transmission. As the world continues to adapt to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, touchless access control solutions will play an increasingly important role in ensuring the safety and security of organizations and individuals.

CPTED Part 2: Natural Surveillance and Natural Access Control

By Kevin Whaley, CPP, Sr. Security Consultant at Kenton Brothers

Natural Surveillance and Natural Access ControlWelcome to Part 2 of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). In Part 1, I introduced the concept of CPTED and the importance of ensuring CPTED principles are considered when developing or enhancing your security program.

We touched on the four key overlapping concepts of CPTED which include:

  1. Natural Surveillance
  2. Natural Access Control
  3. Territorial Reinforcement
  4. Maintenance

For this part of the series, we will be diving into greater detail on the concepts of Natural Surveillance & Natural Access Control.

In order to successfully implement a CPTED plan of action, we must understand that all human space:

  • Has some designated purpose
  • Has social, cultural, legal, or physical definitions (such as expectations or regulations) that prescribe the desired and acceptable behaviors
  • Is designed to support and control the desired and acceptable behaviors

With that understanding in mind, our approach should focus on:

  • Manipulating the physical environment to produce behavior effects that reduce the fear and incidence of certain types of criminal acts;
  • Understanding and modifying people’s behavior in relation to their physical environment
  • Redesigning space or using it differently to encourage desirable behaviors and discourage illegitimate activities; and
  • Reducing the conflicts between incompatible building users and building uses, with the goal of eliminating “no person’s land” that no one takes ownership of.

There are various controls that can be implemented to supplement or support the approaches listed above. However, before we dive into that, we need to understand the various concepts of CPTED in order to apply the approaches correctly.

Natural Surveillance

Natural surveillance is defined as the placement of physical features, activities and people in a way that maximizes visibility from the surrounding environment. Why does this matter? It increases the threat of apprehension by taking steps to increase the perception that people will be seen.

In other words, features that can maximize the visibility of people, parking areas, building entrances and other common use areas promote natural surveillance.

Example #1

As you can see in picture below, this site looks like it may be abandoned. If I were a “bad guy” I would probably think this looks like it doesn’t get a lot of attention from the workers or from the public. There are a lot of dark areas in which it would be very easy to remain undetected. Passers-by may not even notice it’s there.

CPTED - Natural Surveillance & Natural Access Control

Now here is that exact same location after applying basic CPTED principles. For this location, they added a significant lighting to greatly enhance visibility and eliminate hiding spots. Additionally, the large tree on the left was overgrown and actually growing OVER the roof. The tree was trimmed back to eliminate that avenue of opportunity.

CPTED - Natural Surveillance & Natural Access Control

Example #2

In this scene, you can see that the parking lot is barely visiible from the sidewalk, much less the street. The overgrown vegetation and low levels give bad guys plently of places to hide.

CPTED - Natural Surveillance & Natural Access Control

After doing some basic landscaping, they were able to greatly enhance the visibility of the parking lot and in doing so, actually helped improve illumination levels since lighting wasn’t being blocked by vegetation.

CPTED - Natural Surveillance & Natural Access Control


Keep in mind that when we talk about natural surveillance, that can apply to any environment and scenario. It’s not restricted to outdoor scenarios and encompasses much more than just lighting, landscaping etc. It can also include interior spaces such as lobbies, or other common areas. This means the way in which these areas are constructed or designed as well as any “decorations” that may be placed. It’s important to make sure that you are allowing for clear lines of sight as much as possible for natural surveillance.

Natural Access Control

Natural access control is a concept where people are physically guided through a space by the strategic design of streets, sidewalks, building entrances, and landscaping.

Similar to natural surveillance, don’t let “natural” lead to the misconception that this has to deal with just exterior design and landscaping. This pertains not only to the exterior of your building but interior as well.

There is public space and there is private space and sometimes the lines can be blurry. Natural access control fixes that by guiding people in and out of a space using signs, barriers, and other cues. When it is very clear where people should be, it becomes glaringly obvious when someone crosses that boundary into a place they should not be. And that attracts a lot of unwanted attention for a would-be criminal.

Most of us follow the cues that guide us from one place to the next: we walk on the sidewalk or pathway, we obey signs that say “No Trespassing” or “Parking Prohibited,” and we respect barriers, walls, locked doors, and fences designed to keep us out of a particular space. Ignore those “rules,” and you stick out. You’ve broken the silent agreement. Few things say, “I don’t belong here!” more than stepping off the marked path, lingering in a no-parking zone, or hopping over a fence.

And that’s natural access control doing its thing.

Pathways, signage, lighting, and borders—hedges, other plants, fences, and so on—let us direct the flow of foot traffic, which allows us to differentiate immediately between where people should and should not be.

Public space: good. Private space: suspicious.

Criminals want to blend in and disappear. Natural access control reduces, if not eliminates, their ability to do so.

Other design elements include:

  1. Single point of entry
  2. Restricted access to private, internal spaces with barriers, doors, and signage
  3. Sidewalks, roads, and pathways that funnel traffic into appropriate public spaces
  4. Barriers to prevent unauthorized use of spaces
  5. Low, open-type fencing that indicates private space, but does not prevent natural surveillance
  6. Eliminating design features that grant access to roofs or higher windows
  7. Locking windows and doors
  8. Thorny plants around first-floor windows and other potential points of access

We encounter natural access control all around us, just living our day-to-day lives. Most respect the cues they provide and take heed of the simple message. And when we don’t, that’s a giant red flag to others that something isn’t right. Combined with natural surveillance, natural access control makes it easy for everyone to identify suspicious behavior and note the individual doing it.

It’s good for you and your home or business. It’s bad for those looking for an easy target!

Why Physical Security has to be part of the convergence discussion of OT/ICS security.

By David Strickland, Vice President of Kenton Brothers

Why Physical Security has to be part of the convergence discussion of OT/ICS security. There is a real buzz in the security world right now around securing Operational Technology (OT) and Industrial Control Systems (ICS). This buzz comes from two sources: companies and organizations that are being attacked through cyber security and physical attacks, and government agencies trying to get information broadcast to counter these threats. Threat levels have been increasing over the last few years and the cost of these attacks have risen to devastating levels.

According to CISA, in the first half of 2022 there were at least 22 reported large impact attacks on critical infrastructure leading to billions of dollars in losses. As the second half of 2022 numbers are being compiled, the sense of urgency to shore up the vulnerabilities is at an all time high.

How is OT security different than IT Cybersecurity?

IT – Information technology is just that. It is the transfer of data or information through physical appliances such as routers, switches and servers. Security for this technology centers around the prevention, detection and mitigation of attacks from software.

OT or Operational Technology is the manipulation of real world physical devices such as pumps, valves and controls through software or human interaction.  These are called Industrial Control systems. In contrast to IT cybersecurity attacks, the outcomes of successful OT / ICS  attacks include the potential to impact human safety and damage physical equipment. For example, taking any industrial processes OT / ICS equipment offline for extended time periods. This can be done through software or physical attacks known as sabotage.

Many organizations point to the Purdue Model for protecting OT and ICS. 

Why Physical Security has to be part of the convergence discussion of OT/ICS security. The Purdue model, created in the 1990’s is a comprehensive look at protecting ICS and has been the standard for many years. The Purdue Model has five zones that are considered when creating a robust security model. Yes, this model is the current standard, but in our opinion does not adequately address physical security.

Cybersecurity of IT, IIT (Industrial IT) and OT systems is still a very high priority.

A recent comprehensive report provided by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) pointed out a few concerns. “Many organizations lack visibility into their complete OT environments, including IT/OT interconnections and supply chain dependencies. Cybersecurity is overwhelming for organizations and entities with small staffs and budgets. As a result, many are not able to achieve the cybersecurity posture required to adequately secure their IT/OT infrastructure. The majority of legacy OT equipment was never designed for internet connectivity, and may not easily be replaced, making it increasingly challenging to secure in converged environments.”

We must not make the mistake of ignoring the real probability of physical attacks on these same organizations that are overwhelmed with cybersecurity.

“A top priority must be to prevent unauthorized physical access, damage and interference to the organization’s information and information processing facilities. Essentially a key aspect of this standard is to implement effective access control and protection of systems and equipment from damage.”

Physical Security for the OT Starts here:

Policies and Procedures:

Why Physical Security has to be part of the convergence discussion of OT/ICS security.It’s a well-known fact that most breaches (95%+) are a failure of procedure or policy over systems. A good red team will tell you that their most effective weapon for entry is a poorly trained or poorly disciplined employee. Polices and procedures must be created, trained, followed and tested constantly.

Establishing your perimeter:

As with most things involving physical security, you must start with a strong perimeter. This perimeter must be extended as far as physically possible. Access should be granted to only authorized personnel that have been through proper background checks and assigned clearance based on their job function. The perimeter is your best chance at early detection, reaction and mitigation.

Access Control:

Only authorized personnel with the proper clearance and certifications should ever be allowed access to your OT systems. These authorized personnel should constantly be vetted. Many organizations don’t remove terminated employees from this list quickly. No visitors or vendors should ever be allowed access without proper vetting and escort. Your access control systems should be set up in concentric circles with stronger policy the closer you get to critical infrastructure. All access control devices should be kept in proper working order and updated with proper firmware and cyber security practices.


Why Physical Security has to be part of the convergence discussion of OT/ICS security.Too many times we see organizations practice poor alarm management. Alarms in any form (Fire, Access Control, Intrusion Detection, Car) should never be ignored yet many times are. OT devices are vulnerable to physical attack and to things like flooding, fire and electrical damage. A system alarm can help bring immediate attention if properly managed.


Who inspects the inspector? Your IP video surveillance system. It keeps honest people honest and identifies those who are not. Critical infrastructure devices should have surveillance on the device itself and the human interaction point. This of course is on top of all perimeter entrance areas and key points throughout your property.

Knowledge and Cooperation:

The United States can leverage an existing body of knowledge to secure OT infrastructure. Prioritizing and applying these best practices, recommendations, and standards more broadly, in a comprehensive and accelerated manner, would strengthen security and achieve strategic outcomes.

Kenton Brothers Systems for Security stands by to do our part. Please let us know how we can help your organization.