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Elementary cameras eyed

March 02, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Board of Education's proposed budget includes $40,000 that would be used to put security camera systems in more elementary schools, a system official said Thursday.

The school system has security cameras in all of its middle and high schools, said Paul Rudolph, the system's safety security specialist and risk manager.

But only two of the 25 elementary schools have security cameras, he said.

With money from the next few budgets, Rudolph said he hopes the school system will be able to buy and install cameras in the other elementary schools.

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The proposed budget includes $65,000 for security, of which $40,000 is for cameras, said Chris South, director of budget and finance.

The location of the cameras in each school varies, with the specific site based on a risk assessment, Rudolph said.

Most schools that have camera systems have at least one camera at the main entrance, giving the schools a record of who has come into the buildings, he said.

Most of the camera systems are similar to the one at North Hagerstown High School, Rudolph said.

At North High, motion-sensitive cameras near bathrooms cannot see the toilets, but are focused on the entrance and exit, letting school employees see who is going in and out of the bathrooms and when, Principal Robert "Bo" Myers has said.

On a computer monitor, the principal can watch the images in real time or examine prior footage.

Rudolph said a few high schools use donated black-and-white television cameras that record onto videotapes.

Over time, Rudolph said, he hopes to upgrade all systems so all are of similar quality.

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