Grant Allows Watsonville PD to Install School Security Cameras, View Feeds

WATSONVILLE, Calif. – Watsonville police officers will soon have the capability of monitoring the Pajaro Valley Unified School District from their patrol cars.

A $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has enabled the Watsonville Police Department to purchase several video cameras, which will be installed throughout the troubled Pajaro Valley Unified School District. The grant is part of COPS’ larger effort to provide $14.8 million this year to 174 law enforcement agencies in 38 states.

The district has seen a rise in school violence, with the most recent incident being a knife fight between high school students and older adults that occurred outside a Jack in the Box.

The fight prompted police to introduce the “Outside the Box” program, which is designed to combat the area’s problems. One aspect of the program calls for the installation of surveillance cameras throughout the school district and, according to Sgt. Darren Thomas, perhaps off-school sites.

Officers will be able to view camera feeds from their squad cars via a wireless network, which is currently in the process of being set up. The police department has thus far devoted more than $173,000 in outside grants to the wireless network. The network will be completed in an estimated six to seven months.

Last week the City Council also received a $69,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security giving patrol vehicles wireless access to the Internet. Internet access. This will permit officers to access the Amber Alert System, state registered sex offender registry and other similar resources.

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