Georgetown County Adds Nearly $2M in Security Upgrades to Schools

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Meghan Miller

GEORGETOWN, SC (WBTW) – New state-of-the-art technology is better monitoring and protecting students in Georgetown County schools.

The district recently finished installing nearly $2 million in security camera upgrades at all of its schools in the county. The Avigilon effort replaced old security cameras and added enough new cameras to double the number keeping an eye on students. Georgetown County schools, however, would not elude to how many there now are.

Alan Walters, executive director of safety and risk management for the Georgetown County School District, says the district can access the cameras through a computer portal and phones. Some of the cameras provide a 360-degree look at the inside and outside of buildings, while others are built with analytic features. Walters says that could prove beneficial in an emergency situation or active investigation.

“It gives us the capability for either a person or vehicle that passes those cameras when trying to expedite a search. The analytics will allow us to click on that image and then it’ll search the other analytic cameras and help us narrow down where that person or vehicle has been on that campus,” he explained.

While the new security system has that ability, Walters reiterated that it was facial recognition and that data is not stored.

“(The footage quality) is unbelievable,” Walters said. “We’re able to zoom in, to get right down — a student walking down a hall with a piece of paper in their hand — you can read what’s on that paper.”

The Georgetown County School District has set up the system to allow local law enforcement, first responders and emergency management live access to the cameras in an active situation.

“If there’s a critical incident, all of those folks would need access to it. So they would be able to tap in live to the system,” he added.

The new security system was funded by a 2016 bond referendum voted on by county residents. The money specifically was to be used for security upgrades.

While the district now has an easier way to monitor students and staff, it also introduced a new, anonymous reporting tool this week. The “Stopit” app allows students to report a threat straight to school administrators — anything from bullying and weapons to a school or suicidal threat.

“This can be especially important in cases where someone is contemplating self-harm,” Superintendent Dr. Randy Dozier said in a press release.

The app allows students to describe threats, tell administrators where they happened, and when. It also features the ability for pictures, video and file submissions, and contains information to a 24-hour tipline and National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

Officials say the app was given to the district at no cost through the South Carolina School Boards Insurance Trust.

 

Curious why over 5,000 organizations worldwide are using STOPit’s anonymous reporting software and 24/7/365 monitoring services?

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