September 18, 2008

BHS pilots video cameras

By Kathy Tandberg

Newly installed security cameras at Beulah High School have taken the school a step forward to enhance the safety of students.
The system, approved several months ago by the Beulah School Board, offers 22 cameras in various locations of the school.
“We want to keep our kids safe and our building safe,” Superintendent of Schools Rob Lech said.
High School Principal Todd Kaylor said security cameras are definitely a new trend in schools. “After Hazen piloted it and it was successful, we researched it here,” Kaylor explained.
The cameras record by motion detection to Digital Video Recorders, which means they don’t record if there is no movement. Kaylor said the system is able to keep records and can go back as far as 24 days to view the recordings before they are recorded over. In addition, any of the recordings can be backed up and saved to a permanent video.
“If there’s a clip we want to keep we can save it to another system,” he explained.
Lech said in cases of vandalism, for example, the clips could be saved as evidence.
“It’s a much more efficient way to investigate because we have a smoking gun. But the most important reason we have the cameras is to keep the kids safe. We will know who comes in and when, and when they leave the building,” Lech emphasized.
Lech explained that he and Kaylor are the only school personnel with access to the cameras and DVRs, which are kept in a secure room. At any given time, either of them can view the screen that can hold a photo of the view from all 22 cameras, or a few in a larger size. They can zoom into a location if needed and stop a camera to record something more specific than the random shots that are recorded.
Lech said the system, with a cost of $21,000 including installation and training, covers all of the common areas of the school and there are cameras on the outside of the building as well.
“I don’t think you can put a price tag on keeping kids safe,” Lech said.
Kaylor said the teaching staff has responded positively to the system, adding that “often times things such as harassment and bullying take place away from teachers.”


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