Do-It-Yourself Security

Thanks to a parent who worked for a security solutions manufacturer, Assistant Principal Christopher Moritzen of Penn Manor High School installed a video surveillance system by himself at no cost to his school or district.

Built in 1958, Millersville, Pa.-based Penn Manor High School was renovated in 1997. Additions to the campus included a new library media center, a gym, which seats more than 2,000, and a cafeteria that seats 600. While the look of the school may have been more pleasing to the eye, one thing it was lacking was an upgraded security system.

For nine years after the renovation, Penn Manor’s administrators and the school’s full-time resource officer monitored the areas around campus every moment of the day. With as many as 1,900 students and 170 faculty and staff on the five-acre campus, that was no easy feat.

After being assigned the task of revamping school security on campus, Assistant Principal Christopher Moritzen decided it was time for the school to invest in cameras. But where would the cameras come from, and more importantly, how would the district pay for them?

Luckily for Moritzen, one of the parents in the district who worked for Bosch Security Systems heard about the vice principal’s quest for the right product for the institution. She suggested using Bosch for the security upgrade, and Moritzen jumped at the opportunity. What made the deal even sweeter was the fact that all of the equipment and technology was donated by Bosch.

Now, Penn Manor has 46 cameras and is looking to install about 30 more.

Cameras Compensate for Poor Lighting
Installed in the interior of the school are Bosch Dinion IP color cameras. According to the company, with this technology, bad lighting conditions should not be a problem when school administrators review video footage taken by the cameras. “The technology enables users to handle situations like strong backlighting or a low light condition and compensates for the actual image information that we get from the CCD itself,” explains Christopher Johnson, product marketing manager for Bosch.

The cameras have been placed in hot spots that are known for having disturbances, such as hallways and the cafeteria. Cameras have also been installed at the entrances and exits of the school, and Moritzen says it helps administrators identify every person who comes into the building. Having the cameras there also helps prevent truancy.

Located on the outside are AutoDome Modular cameras, which are high-speed positioning systems that include an auto focus camera. They monitor the school’s parking lots and bus loop, where school buses come in during the afternoon.

Located in the offices of the assistant principal and the school resource officer (SRO) are 21-inch color monitors that display video from the system. With those monitors, administrators can view live and playback video concurrently. Furthermore, Penn Manor personnel are able to search through video files for incidents using DVRs.

The cameras have worked well for the school, says Moritzen. In fact, school officials have identified stolen cars from neighboring cities that were dumped on school property. The camera images were so clear that administrators and police could read the vehicles’ license plate numbers and trace them back to police reports.

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