Texas District Invests in Video Surveillance for 17 Elementary Schools

The cameras will monitor hallways, front entrances, gyms, playgrounds and other areas of the schools.

The Harlingen School Board, located in Harlingen, Texas, has voted to award a contract to Calence Physical Security Solutions to install new video surveillance systems at all 17 of the district’s elementary schools. The district is paying for the systems with funds accrued through a recent 10-cent property tax increase, the Valley Morning Star reports.

The contract agrees to pay the company $651,957 to install new video surveillance systems at each campus, all of which already have locking systems. Security cameras will be deployed to cover hallways, breezeways, entrances, gyms, playgrounds and in other areas that principals feel they should be placed.

Oscar Tapia, assistant superintendent for operations, told the Valley Morning Star he expects to issue a purchase order to Calence soon so the company can begin purchasing equipment. Once the installation work begins, it will be finished within 120 days.

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“They’ll install the servers, the computers, the monitor, the communication lines and the cameras themselves,” Tapia said.

The cameras will be used to keep track of student movements and any suspicious adults lingering nearby. Disagreements can be resolved by observing the footage.

If students are congregating in a specific area instead of going into class, they can be identified on the footage and told to avoid that area and arrive to class on time. Anyone trying to enter a campus at night to commit theft will be caught on camera with its infrared capability. Adults lingering near playgrounds also will be captured on video.

Numerous areas on a school campus could be considered viable locations for a camera. While the servers can accommodate 56 cameras, only 10 cameras will be purchased and installed for each campus.

“The more cameras you add, the more recording time will go down,” Tapia said. “But we try to have no less than two weeks recording time.”

Tapia said servers at each campus will have the capability of recording about a month’s worth of information. The cameras will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The cost of electricity will be minimal. The footage can be viewed off-site. For example, if an incident is taking place at the school, the principal can view it on an iPad from across town as it’s taking place.

Legacy video surveillance systems have been in use at the district’s high schools and middle schools for about 20 years, Tapia told the newspaper.

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