School Safety Technology

CA District Turns to Drones for Campus Safety

A California school system is using eyes in the sky for extra security. According to local reporting, the Delhi Unified School District, in the state's central valley, has added three drones to its safety operations. District safety officers have been trained on how to use them as well as their on-board high-resolution cameras, which can capture video and photography.

One of the primary uses currently: to monitor students heading off campus or to "remote places" at Delhi High School, which maintains a closed-campus policy. Once students are on campus, they're not allowed to leave during the school day from 7:50 a.m. to 3 p.m. without the permission of administration.

School District Safety Officer Ricardo Lemus operates a drone at Delhi Unified. Photo by Nate Gomes, courtesy of the Merced County Office of Education

School District Safety Officer Ricardo Lemus operates a drone at Delhi Unified. Photo by Nate Gomes, courtesy of the Merced County Office of Education

"The drones provided an ability for us to supervise large amounts of geographic areas absent of us having foot traffic or the need to have a specific person in remote places," Associate Principal Christian Miley told Reporter Shayla Giradin. "One of the really amazing things is the deterrent level that it has created just by virtue of hearing it."

Now, noted District Safety Officer Ricardo Lemus, rather than hopping into their cars or walking off campus during the lunch hour, students are more likely to "stay inside."

The flying devices have also been used to check the district's bus routes. The team of safety officers also anticipate alerting the Merced County Sheriff’s Department about suspicious incidents; for example, earlier in the fall they alerted county emergency personnel about a house fire.

The drones were financed by state Local Control and Accountability Plan funds.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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