WHITLEY COUNTY - Whitley County High School and Middle School will receive 125 new security cameras thanks to an approved motion made by the school board during its meeting Thursday evening.

Kevin Anderson, the Chief Information Officer with the school district, called the 82 indoor and 42 exterior cameras split between both schools state of the art.

Anderson explained the new camera system purchased through Step CG LLC would allow first-responders to tap into cameras remotely via an app. This technology would also be available to school district officials who can tap into individual cameras placed throughout the campus at any time of day.

“This has some special capabilities that we’re going be able to do, such as facial recognition,” noted Anderson. “If you’ve got a bad guy that you’ve identified in the area, we can put that in the system and they’ll get flagged if they’re on our campus.”

The new camera system will also be able to scan the license plates on vehicles that enter Whitley County’s campus, and provides traffic flow patterns to not only vehicle traffic outdoors, but foot traffic within each building.

“If you’ve got an area like in COVID situation that you may not realize is a heavy traffic area, this camera system will pattern that for you, and identify these areas in the building,” Anderson said.

Each camera will record 24/7 and provide 30-day memory storage. Camera footage is also backed up by a cloud-based system with unlimited archive capability.

Anderson said this was important as it allows the school system to have access to the archives, but does not add the extra costs associated with hosting the hardware it takes to store the archived footage.

“Also if you had a bad situation to where something got destroyed, this video footage is still there,” Anderson said. “You can even fixate on certain spots, like if you know a door opens or if you want an alert that a door opened, these cameras can trigger off movement, and you can really zoom in on it.”

The new installation project will also include 12 new vape sensors that can detect chemical changes in the air.

“We plan on eight of them going here at the high school and four of them going in at the middle school,” explained Anderson. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be vape. Honestly, if you sprung a bad water leak, it would trigger the system,” he added. “But it’s very customizable to what it recognizes.”

The hardware for the new camera system comes with a 10-year warranty and includes all future updates and software changes. The system is the first major purchase in the 2020 grant cycle by the school district through the School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) grant procured last year.

Patrick Bowling, the district’s Director of Pupil Personnel, said the system would come in at little to no cost for the district.

“It came in a little bit higher than what we originally budget, but we’re hoping that we’ll be able to cover it through grant savings,” Bowling explained.

Bowling also mentioned that thanks to the work of Anderson and his department, as well as the board approving the purchase before January 20, the district was able to purchase the $300,000 system for approximately $187,000.

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