Blinded by Graffiti -  vandalism and destruction of property are not the only concerns at schools. Sadly, theft, assaults and campus shootings are also important issues.

Blinded by Graffiti

Geutebruck helps secure Florida school district

It was a sunny morning when Mick Miller got up to get ready for work at a large school. He had a great weekend, and he was looking forward to the day; Work at the school was fun. However, shortly after, his good mood was ruined when he reached the school grounds and saw with dismay that large areas of the facade of the building and the entrance area were once again covered with graffiti. The school gate was broken and that weekend someone had obviously decided to have a barbeque party in the school yard, judging by the garbage. This meant, yet again, that a great deal of work and significant expenses would be needed for repairs and renovation.

The Writing on the Wall

This example is just one of many cases of vandalism at schools. But, vandalism and destruction of property are not the only concerns at schools. Sadly, theft, assaults and campus shootings are also important issues. According to an FBI study, the number of shootings in the United States increased from an average of 6.4 incidents per year in the period 2000 to 2006 to 16.4 per year between 2007 and 2013.

These factors prompted the leaders of the schools in the Sarasota County School District on the Florida Gulf Coast to take necessary precautions. The safety of students, faculty and staff must be prioritized and the best possible protection provided—a real challenge, considering that the Sarasota County Schools operate a total of 52 schools, educate 42,000 students and employ 5,000 teachers and other employees.

Partner United Security Alliance, certified by Geutebruck, was commissioned to secure four high schools and two middle schools at various locations. The technical design and equipment for all middle schools and high schools is already in the planning phase and will be completed within the next two years.

Getting Professional Help

With United Security Alliance, a professional partner was chosen with many years of experience and deep technical knowledge. This made it possible to provide a solution that is not only fully mature from a technical perspective but also provides additional benefits. All schools are interconnected and are controlled by a centralized control center, the Safety & Security Communications Center.

The monitors are running 24/7 and provide views from multiple cameras at all the schools. This ensures preventive monitoring as well as quick assessment, response and, in the best case, the immediate clarification of incidents and crimes. At the same time, school administrators and School Resource Officers on site can check recordings locally and directly follow up on incidents.

To provide these services, multiple re_porter, GeViScope and GeViStore video management systems were put into use with the existing analog and IP cameras. At each school and in the central control center, SpeedView stations are used as analysis units, from which the security personnel can access all live streams and recorded images. All images are archived for 45 days, placing high demands on storage capacity. The schools were initially equipped with 16 cameras 11 years ago. Today, there are 4,300 cameras.

“Storage was the largest challenge,” said Tim Butler, security system engineer on telling why they chose Geutebruck technology. “State requirements mandate 30 days of storage but the school district’s goal is to keep at least 35 days’ worth. In the previous system, estimating storage needs accurately was difficult and Geutebruck was able to provide what we needed. There were several systems that were considered at the enterprise level and Geutebruck fit all the characteristics that we were looking for. In addition, the transition from analog to the world of IP was made easier by Geutebruck. All employees are trained internally and the staff can easily handle the equipment in the schools.”

This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Security Today.

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