Chippewa Valley School District Graduates to Milestone IP Video Security Management

To address the disconnect between its state-of-the-art facilities being monitored with an outdated security system, Chippewa Valley School District called for a complete renovation of its analog video surveillance. They chose Milestone XProtect Corporate software for an open platform, IP network solution with high-definition Axis cameras that cover all 22 campuses across the Michigan district.

In 2004, an attack on Chippewa Valley high schools was foiled. A student threatened to terrorize the school in a way similar to highly-publicized events of other U.S. schools in the past. For the district administration, this was an eye-opening situation and the catalyst to upgrade security measures for the continued safety of students, teachers, staff and property.

With more than 16,000 students on the 22 campuses, Chippewa Valley Schools of Michigan is responsible for many safety matters. With a previously diverse array of analog camera systems, each sending video to multiple DVRs around the district, there was little efficiency for monitoring the Kindergarten through12th grade students, teachers and staff. It was also difficult to obtain video evidence because going back into the recordings was more of a frustration than a help.

Chippewa schools otherwise boast state-of-the-art technology and plan to ensure that taxpayers receive optimal value for all of their investments, with no worry about loss, vandalism or property damage. Taking the step to IP video surveillance was the best option to keep the schools’ costs low.

IT consultants with Metro Technology Services designed a comprehensive surveillance solution based on Milestone XProtect Corporate video management software (VMS) that is centrally managed by the school administration. Installed and fully integrated by Peripheral Vision (PV), more than 1,400 HD Axis network video cameras are connected via Milestone Federated Architecture to cover the internal and external properties of Chippewa Valley’s 22 locations.

“Throughout the entire design process, we performed intricate, walk-through sessions with each school’s principal to ensure we would be able to cover all of their possible blind spots,” stated Tom Giachino, president of Metro Technology Services. “From an end user perspective, the Milestone system was easy to use and fit our needs perfectly to help secure the district.”
“Before Milestone XProtect, it was nearly impossible to effectively manage the out-of-date, analog camera system over Chippewa Valley’s entire school district. Now, rather than relying on hundreds of DVRs and low resolution cameras, district administrators can easily and quickly monitor the schools via XProtect Smart Client to keep the students, staff and property safe,” says Hugh Sonk, president & CEO at Peripheral Vision, the installing Milestone partner.

“The majority of the issues we saw when reviewing video software choices were related to proprietary equipment. Milestone’s open platform technology, however, saves us from a complete system overhaul if we decide to change any of the more than 1,400 cameras we have invested in for the district,” explains Craig McBain, director of technology at Chippewa Valley Schools.

The school district now efficiently monitors all campus buildings and perimeters from one central location. Department heads around the district also have specific access to monitor the areas in which they are responsible. Since installing Milestone XProtect surveillance software and high-resolution Axis cameras, the school has seen a dramatic decrease in security-related instances and is far more efficient when it comes to dealing with incidents that do occur.

The complete installation was delivered in two phases. Phase I started with installing the cameras at the five high schools around the district. Phase II connected the middle and elementary schools through the Milestone Federated Architecture. The two project phases were completed after hours, overnight and on weekends during the regular school year. PV was able to set up each building’s XProtect system individually and connect them through the Milestone Federated Architecture as each station was finalized.

“The buildings are large and it’s definitely a challenge to manage the security, keeping an eye on property and students in multiple areas,” states Sonk. “The Milestone system even allows administrators to virtually walk the halls by monitoring the system from their mobile devices in addition to their desktops. It has an easy-to-use interface and is a complete turnaround and improvement for the district.”

Flexible access and more than security
Users in each department were trained on the Milestone software. Due to its intuitive design, each user quickly developed the necessary skills to operate cameras through the Milestone software. “There is a fast turnaround time for training – no more than 45 minutes per session,” states McBain. “We actually took advantage of those to determine camera realignments for trouble spots not seen during the initial install.”

One of the benefits of the Milestone video software is the ability for department heads to be given specific access. While the administration and security guards have instant access to the entire system, running Milestone on their laptops and smartphones, the transportation manager can see if buses are on time; the food service manager can review an incident in the cafeteria or monitor lines; and maintenance managers can watch for vandals or keep track of the safety of internal school issues, such as flooding from a broken pipe or road and parking lot conditions, and traffic.

The benefits gained from the implementation of Milestone XProtect were immediately seen by the Chippewa School District. The reliability and efficiency of exporting the video, being able to document an event - not only from the scene itself, but all of the pieces leading up to and following the incident - continues to result in improved security and a reduced number of instances across the district.

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