Texas School District Uses Network Cameras To Enhance Security
Axis Communications recently announced that the Deer Park Independent School District in Texas is using its network cameras to enhance the security and safety of public school students and facilities.
Located about 20 miles south of Houston, the school district serves more than 12,000 students. More than 700 fixed, fixed dome and PTZ network cameras have been installed in 16 of the district’s elementary, middle and high school hallway interiors as well as some exteriors.
In addition, the district has placed network cameras in several support buildings. The school selected the Axis’ integrator and application developer partner Lensec for this project because of its vast public school experience.
“Like any public school, we want to ensure that non-students aren’t in our facilities and that our students and staff remain safe,” said Deputy Superintendent for Administration Don Dean. “Axis network cameras provide us with high-resolution images and the flexibility to access images from any location required. From experience, we know that our schools are safer and we can resolve student issues much more quickly and accurately than before. In addition, taxpayers appreciate how cost-effective the system has been while keeping students and staff safer. I give LenSec high marks for examining our situation and making the system work well.”
Nearly 10 years ago, Deer Park installed analog cameras in many of its schools. While that system provided some benefits, it could take hours to track down specific incidents on VHS tapes, and the image quality made it difficult to identify students. Since the school district implemented network video systems, school personnel can get at specific incidents of interest within minutes. In addition, higher quality images enable staff to clearly identify students. Video is often archived for several weeks to enable the school to view incidents that aren’t reported or uncovered immediately.
Before school, between classes, at lunch and after school staff monitor school activities real time. Rather than deploying dedicated safety staff, the district makes it the responsibility of individual assistant principals, secretaries and other paraprofessionals to observe small segments of each school campus via multiple camera views on each monitor during peak times.
Should any incidents occur, they can report them immediately to roaming staff. In this manner, the school can often stop inappropriate activity before it becomes a problem. This also serves as a deterrent, since students know that bullying or vandalism can be identified immediately. In addition, the school has resolved break-ins, including identifying a contract worker who stole musical instruments from a middle school (The instruments were recovered and he was later charged with a felony.).
In addition to indoor activity, the school mounted outdoor cameras to view sports fields and an area along the nearby shipping canal in case of an industrial event that might require an evacuation. The district’s schools are networked together via fiber, which enables key staff, including Dean, to monitor schools at any time from any school facility.
Dean noted that when he learns of serious incidents, he can also have videos emailed immediately to him so that he can review them and take appropriate action. Being able to clearly identify what has taken place and who was involved has enabled him to resolve issues quickly and fairly.
“Lensec serves as a turnkey solution as it is the manufacturer of ‘K12M’ video surveillance software,” said Alan Morris, LenSec vice president of business development LenSec also acts as the surveillance site consultant; installer of structured cabling, cameras, enclosures, and servers; as well as the network engineer, designing the security system, procuring the system and installing it for the district.”
School safety is a nationwide concern,” said Fredrik Nilsson, general manager of Axis Communications Inc. “We applaud Deer Park for what it has accomplished and look forward to working with the school district and LenSec to complete the rollout of the network camera system in the coming months.”
Deer Park Independent School District’s future plans include expanding its network video system to include all district facilities, including the administration building, transportation department and school kitchens.