Glendale Unified’s security camera rollout proves helpful
About two years after Glendale school officials agreed to install high-tech security cameras at the district’s 30 schools, the project is nearly done, and school officials say they have become increasingly helpful during school emergencies and in addressing cases of theft and vandalism.
For Scott Anderle, assistant director of student support services for Glendale Unified, the cameras have made a difference in his response to school-wide emergencies, and he suspects their presence has contributed to a decrease in thefts and vandalism on local campuses.
Glendale Unified set aside $4 million in Measure S bond funds and hired Orange-based Convergint Technologies to install the cameras, with only the largest campuses having access to security cameras prior to the upgrade.
Now, a single campus may feature anywhere from 10 to 20 cameras — or more.
Last September, the new system became especially helpful at Hoover High School when the school received a bomb threat and 1,700 students were evacuated.
Following direction from Glendale police, Anderle monitored the camera feeds to search for anyone or anything suspicious, and reported back to police and administrators what he saw, including abandoned backpacks, which ultimately did not pose a threat.
That event marked the first time Anderle could magnify images to get a clear look at the entire campus during an emergency.
“It was super effective when it came to that particular emergency,” he said.
The user-friendly system also allows him to capture screen shots that he can easily send to police.
In the past, when graffiti would appear on a school wall over a weekend, administrators would watch the tape capturing the time between early Friday evening and early Monday morning.
Now, the system is easier to scan through, meaning administrators can look at six or seven days of video within a matter of seconds to arrive at certain key moments when someone enters the frame.
The new cameras also retain footage for about 30 days, whereas previous cameras held onto footage for only up to a week.
With students aware of the cameras on campus, Anderle said he’s noticed a difference in the number of events involving theft or vandalism.
“I’m already feeling that theft and vandalism seem to be down significantly,” he said.
The school board last month agreed to spend roughly $422,000 on the final round of camera installations at seven schools and district facilities, including the school district’s headquarters.
Kelly Corrigan, firstname.lastname@example.org