Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

State News

February 16, 2014

New cameras to improve Clay Co. school security

BRAZIL, Ind. (AP) — A southwestern Indiana school district is spending nearly $500,000 to install a video surveillance system that will enable school officials and police to eventually monitor about 300 cameras at 15 facilities.

Clay Community Schools Corp. awarded a $484,500 contract to Tech Electronics of Indiana in November to install the high-definition security cameras and software. The devices have already been installed at Clay City Elementary, Clay City Junior-Senior High School, Northview High School and North Clay Middle School.

District director of extended services Mike Howard told the Tribune-Star (http://bit.ly/1kHiwcc ) that the changes are designed to keep students and staff "as safe as possible."

The cameras will be placed indoors and outdoors.

Initially, Howard will be able to access the cameras through mobile devices or from his home computer.

"I could be in Florida and see what is going on in a cafeteria, gym or hallway," he said.

The district plans to give local police access to the live camera feeds so they can see what's going on if they're called to schools for a security matter. Howard said that's expected to happen by this summer.

No cameras will be placed in classrooms, locker rooms or restrooms. The cameras will be in hallways, common spaces, outside and at interior entrances. Only a few central office administrators will have access to the districtwide surveillance system.

The cameras are the latest effort to improve security in the district's schools in response to a wave of violence at schools across the country.

Last year, Tech Electronics added 21 entrances at Clay Community Schools to a card-access system. More doors will be added.

Jeff Birchler, an account manager with Tech Electronics, said the new camera system puts "more eyes in more places" and can lead to quicker response times.

"It just helps out in general for the entire flow of security," he said.

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Information from: Tribune-Star, http://www.tribstar.com

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