THE MAGAZINE

School Seeks Uniformity

By Ann Longmore-Etheridge

Law enforcement from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and the City of Pensacola can also see live and recorded video from anywhere in the county. Johnson says, “They can use an iPhone or Android, or the laptop in their cruisers, and police dispatchers can use their monitor at the Sheriff’s Office—wherever they need access, they can do so,” including the agencies’ mobile command centers.

Of bumps along the way in this five-year project, Johnson recalls, “We’ve had a few tech problems, but that wasn’t unexpected…. And the maintenance issues have been just budgetary—getting the district to understand and buy into the project. These systems are no different than an air conditioning system in a school. We have to maintain them and keep them going. There are components that will fail over time, so you have to have a maintenance schedule set up.”

Meanwhile, the systems prove their worth almost every day, Johnson states. “There are many examples of how the system has helped solve vandalism incidents—catching kids breaking windows or blowing fire extinguishers.” It has also helped in cases where students accuse teachers of improper behavior. For instance, “Susie says that the teacher dragged her down the hall, but the video shows that the teacher was 10 feet in front of her the entire way,” he says.

The systems have also helped solve theft incidents. In one example, at a new-build elementary school, the system was being put in while workers were still on site. “We had a half million dollars in technology [temporarily stored] in two rooms, so I went and grabbed two IP cameras and set them up on top of boxes. We recorded the video to a remote video recorder. Sure enough, one of the carpenters took a couple of laptops and put them in a five-gallon bucket, threw a rag over them, and walked out.”
Johnson says that once the elementary schools are complete, “We’ll start this whole process over.” They plan to stay with March Networks, as they update schools that had their equipment put in when the project began in 2008. He says that, potentially, 360-degree cameras may begin to be installed in some situations.

(For more information: March Networks, phone: 613/591-8181; e-mail: sales@marchnetworks.com; Web: www.marchnetworks.com. Axis Communications, phone: 46 46 272 18 00; Web:
www.axis.com.)

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