Caddo Parish Schools Installs 7K IP Cameras for District-Wide Surveillance

After suffering from storage issues with its older DVR technology, the the Caddo Parish Public School system, in Northwest Louisiana, decided to deploy IQinVision IP video surveillance throughout the entire school district. The on-going project is being managed and installed by Stanley Security Solutions.

Prior to upgrading to IP megapixel surveillance, Caddo employed a variety of surveillance technologies and makers that varied from campus to campus. Steve White, Director of Construction and Capital Projects for Caddo Schools, noted that that they suffered from storage issues with the old DVR technology, “We would view something on Friday, and come Monday when we’ve decided we want to see it again, the event had already been over-written.”

The move to unify and upgrade all surveillance technologies started in the summer of 2011 and was given a push by the need to consolidate some of the schools. White explained, “We had some under-utilized high schools, so we closed some middle schools and combined the students, putting grades 7-12 together to get building utilization up to where we wanted it.”

“This caused some issues, because now we had much younger students in the same building with juniors and seniors.” The school district set up separate entrances and parts of the school buildings designated for middle and high school students. At the same time, district officials put out a bid to bring in new video surveillance technology to keep a close eye on things in the five new combined middle/high schools.

Around this time, federal stimulus monies became available and Caddo decided that a large portion of those funds should be used to upgrade video surveillance in all the parish’s schools. “In the five original schools, we installed a major name brand camera,” said White. “After a while, we realized these cameras were expensive and we could do better.” Caddo selected IQinVision HD megapixel cameras for the extensive roll-out to all 68 school campuses and the main administration campus in the summer 2012. “These IQeye cameras were a big step forward for us,” recalled White.

The number of IQeye cameras deployed in the elementary schools is the smallest, running about 100; middle schools require approximately 150-200 cameras; and the high schools often deploy 300 or more cameras. Caddo Parish has installed around 4,000 cameras to date, and upon completion approximately 7,000 total IQeye HD megapixel cameras will be deployed. IQeye Alliance dome and Sentinel models were selected and the camera resolutions range from 1MP up to 5MP, depending upon area of coverage and desired image quality needs. White estimates that 80% of the cameras will be installed inside schools buildings and the remaining 20% outside.

White’s department is in charge of system installation and network monitoring to ensure all is in working order. The Security Department, along with each school’s resource officer, actually monitor video and do post-event investigations.

Both White and Roy Murray, Director of Security, report that a number of criminal and non-criminal incidents are regularly investigated and solved using their new IP video surveillance capability. For items that are taken or misplaced around the schools, the vast majority are retrieved because system operators now have the image quality to make positive IDs on who was involved in such incidents.

“The video tells the whole, unbiased truth,” Murray commented. “No more ‘he said, she said’, we know what actually happened in the incidents we need to investigate. Our cameras are an unbiased third party.” The Security Department reviews video to investigate missing property, vandalism, and altercations. But it is also used to evaluate if slips and falls actually happened, when reported, and in instances where a student might accuse a teacher or staff member of an improper action, the video serves to exonerate sometimes too.

Each campus has access only to their own camera views, with the school principal and Student Resource Officer monitoring the video. Both White and Murray’s departments and the Caddo Parish Superintendent have access to all camera views, which are managed by Stanley’s B.A.S.I.S. video management software. The new, upgraded IP video system is meeting Caddo’s needs in terms of image quality and coverage, and it’s a breath of fresh air from their old technology, “I can’t tell you the number of times we had failures in the prior system,” White recalled none too fondly.

Murray reports that cameras are deployed to monitor all common areas, hallways, cafeterias, auditoriums, “where students congregate, entrances and exits, too, but we do not monitor in the classrooms. We use the cameras to keep an eye out where we don’t have personnel, checking if students are leaving campus from where they aren’t supposed to, and monitoring gates for unwanted visitors.” Staff also monitor burglar alarms after hours to guard against trespassing.

“Of course, we use our video surveillance capabilities for security,” Murray explained, “but our Risk Management folks use it to check the validity of slip and fall claims. Our principals use it to aid them in managing discipline. We use the system for a whole range of purposes.”

Once the current phase of installation is completed, and all Caddo Parish’s schools have been covered, Murray and White intend to return to where it all started—the five original schools—to retrofit them with IQeye cameras and to unify those schools into an impressive network that stretches from one end of the parish school district all the way to other with 69 school campuses in between.

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