County installs school security cameras
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 10:09

System feeds link directly to law enforcement

by Nicole Rodman

    On Aug. 27, 2012, a 15-year-old Perry Hall High School student brought a gun to school.
    The shooting that followed left a 17-year-old student injured and raised concerns about the safety of Baltimore County schools.
    That December, the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. brought new urgency to the issue.
    Two months later, in February 2013, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced plans for a series of high-tech safety measures designed to improve security at county schools.
    Last Tuesday, Kamenetz unveiled the latest phase of that plan — networked security cameras in each of the county’s 107 elementary schools.
    Kamenetz was flanked by Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson and Baltimore County school superintendent S. Dallas Dance as he demonstrated the new One View networked security camera system at the Baltimore County Police Command and Control Center last week.

“We are using the latest technology along with an integrated, collaborative approach to help ensure our children’s safety in school,” Kamenetz explained. “This One View system is another example of county government working in concert with the schools, sharing resources and information to get the best possible results for our students.”
    The One View system includes at least three cameras placed in strategic locations in each of the county’s elementary schools.
    Law enforcement officials can access school camera feeds from any location with secure network access — including police vehicles, precincts and the Baltimore County Police Command and Control Center.
    Officers can even view the camera feeds from connected mobile devices.
    In addition to viewing camera feeds, officers using the system can view floor plans for each school, select the camera feeds they wish to view and watch video, in real time, from up to 6 cameras on one device.
    “While there is no crime-fighting tool as valuable as a good police officer or detective, modern police agencies know that they have to invest in the right technologies,” Police Chief Johnson noted. “These cameras are another example of Baltimore County’s determination to invest in the tools we need to keep communities safe.”
    The One View system cost $3.7 million and includes cameras, software, door locks, card readers and an identification checking application.
    One million of that cost came from speed camera fines, while the remaining $2.7 million was funded  by Baltimore County.
    According to county officials, subsequent phases of the county’s efforts to improve school security could include “retrofitting existing cameras in middle and high schools and adding more data points to the application, such as access to existing [Mass Transit Administration] and [State Highway Administration] cameras.”