School, Town Officials Approve Major Security Upgrades

Fresno (Calif.) USD, Milton (Wis.) USD and the town of Westport, Conn., will be spending more than $4.5 million to improve campus security.

Two school districts and a town have agreed to heavily invest in upgrading their schools’ security systems this week.

The Fresno Unified School District in California, the Milton School District in Wisconsin and the town of Westport, Conn., have made major commitments to improve aspects of their schools’ security, including surveillance, communication and access control.

Fresno Unified decided Wednesday it will be spending $3.5 million on 900 high definition security cameras, which will be installed in all 30 middle and high schools in the district, reports abc30.com. All of the high schools will also be getting new lighting.

On Monday, Milton unanimously approved the $430,858 purchase of new school security cameras for all eight of its schools as well as a new access control system, according to the Milton Courier. Police officers will be able to access the cameras from their squad cars. The project will be completed this summer.

The town of Westport approved a $743,114 security upgrade at a meeting Tuesday that will give the town’s eight schools 190 two-way digital radios and a new communication system. $480,630 of that money will go towards the communication system, which includes 229 exterior speakers and 189 interior speakers, reports the Westport News.

All three boards have different reasons for their security investments. 

In December of 2013 a teacher was shot at Edison High in Fresno, and detectives had only witnesses and grainy security camera footage to work with to solve the crime. There were also thefts at several of Fresno’s schools over break this winter.

In Milton, outdated equipment was cited as the main reason for the pricey upgrade. Half of the district’s high school cameras have stopped working, and doors needed to be added to the existing access control system, which was no longer supported by the manufacturer.

Meanwhile, in Westport a security audit by Kroll Inc. was the driving factor in the decision to upgrade. The school district has already acted on some of Kroll’s suggestions, including installing interior lock sets and protective window film over school windows.

Westport asked for the recommendations from the consulting firm after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown. Westport is a 40 minute drive from Newtown.

Photo: matco.com

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