Texas District Deploys Network Cameras To Surveil Campuses

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Deer Park Independent School District has installed Axis Communications' network cameras on its school campuses and support services buildings. The district, which enrolls about 12,000 students, is located in Deer Park, TX, 20 miles south of Houston.

With the help of Axis' Houston-based application development partner Lensec, DPISD has installed approximately 700 cameras in 16 of the district's schools. All of the images are recorded on high-resolution digital video.

The district previously had analog cameras in many of its facilities, and connected VHS machines would record what the cameras captured. However, scanning hours of VHS tape to find specific incidents was time-consuming, according to the school. Additionally, the lower resolution of the images made it difficult to identify students and trespassers.

"Like any public school, we want to ensure that non-students aren't in our facilities and that our students and staff remain safe," said Don Dean, DPISD deputy superintendent for administration. "Axis network cameras provide us with high-resolution images and the flexibility to access images from any location required. From experience, we know that our schools are safer and we can resolve student issues much more quickly and accurately than before."

One recent example was a contract worker who stole musical instruments from a district middle school. Because the cameras clearly captured the incident, the worker was arrested and charged with a felony, and the instruments were returned.

Dean added that the cameras also act as a deterrent, since bullies and students who might be prone to acts of vandalism know it's far more likely they'll be caught.

Finally, there is a resource consideration. Rather than having security professionals patrol school campuses full time, each school places the responsibility of periodic monitoring of the network display on the assistant principal, school secretaries, and other paraprofessionals. They can then report any incidents or causes for concern to roaming staff.

Taxpayers, Dean said, "appreciate how cost-effective the system has been while keeping students and staff safer."

About the Author

Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.

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