Palisades High School students will be under the watchful eye of a campus-wide camera surveillance system beginning this school year on August 13.
The first part of the project was partially paid for through the Mercer Fund (about $45,000) and the rest ($20,000) came from Celebrate My Drive (a $100,000 grant awarded to Palisades High students by State Farm Insurance), Riccardi said. “The kids themselves voted to allocate money for this project.”
Phase one of the camera system, which was completed the first week of August, will “light up” the front of the school, several of the school buildings and the quad, said David Riccardi, PaliHi’s director of operations, adding that signs will be posted to notify students that they are under surveillance.
The surveillance system will be on 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will retain information for 30 days. The Web-based camera system can be adjusted for nighttime use, and will allow remote access.
“Once you log in, you can access the cameras from anywhere from the local Starbucks to the airport,” Riccardi said.
Those with access to the system can view the cameras on their iPads, and access specific areas and buildings, rewind and even take screen shots. While the cameras will pick up color video, there will be no audio component, he said. “However, the user will be able to zoom in on images.”
Riccardi did not specify who in particular would have access to the system.
“We need to have eyes on the school,” Riccardi said. “I’m amazed that we don’t have incidents like they do at other LAUSD schools, where they literally steal the bleachers of the fields to scrap for aluminum, or steal the air conditioners on the roof to scrap for steel.”
In theory, the school could allow law enforcement personnel to access the cameras if an incident occurs. “They could view incidents in real-time,” Riccardi said.
“We’ve had incidents were we have a fight in an area and by the time we get out there everyone is dispersed, and we don’t know what happened,” he said. “Now, school officials will be able to view the video when such actions occur.”
Phase one of the project was the most costly because it required the purchase of most of the equipment necessary for the program’s installation. The second phase, which will be the installation of additional cameras and wiring, will cost less (about $30,000), he said.
A camera security system is essential for any school, especially one with an open-campus, Riccardi said. “It’s not a question of if something happens; it’s a question of when it happens.”
Citing security reasons, Riccardi would not disclose the number or specific locations of the cameras.
Increased campus safety via the use of a security camera system was part of the school’s 2012-2013 goals.
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