Chimacum schools show off security cameras

Kirk Boxleitner kboxleitner@ptleader.com
Posted 4/17/18

A breakfast meetup between Chimacum School District 49 staff and local first responders became an opportunity for law enforcement and fire personnel to check out the Chimacum schools’ security …

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Chimacum schools show off security cameras

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A breakfast meetup between Chimacum School District 49 staff and local first responders became an opportunity for law enforcement and fire personnel to check out the Chimacum schools’ security camera system.

Chimacum Assistant Superintendent Art Clarke used the Chimacum High School library’s overhead projector to show multiple camera angles at once to breakfasting Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Washington Highway Patrol troopers, and county firefighters and emergency medical technicians April 13.

Clarke explained to the attendees, after they had worked their way through most of the complimentary cartons of milk and muffins, the school district has 72 security cameras mounted in multiple buildings in the district.

“As you can see, we can zoom in close enough to see your license plate number,” Clarke said, as the camera monitored the parking lot flanking the entrance to the high school.

At the same time, Clarke reassured the public that the cameras facing State Route 19, beyond the school campus, black out the residential homes on the other side of the road.

Clarke elaborated the cameras are motion-activated, mounted in the hallways and other common spaces, and can see in infrared if they are cameras that monitor parts of the buildings and campus that have low-light conditions overnight.

Footage from the cameras is stored for 30 days, but by state law, it includes no audio, and signs are posted throughout the schools making students aware of the cameras.

“Before, it could have taken hours to interview students about incidents at school,” Chimacum Elementary Principal Jason Lynch said. “Now, we can just look at the footage.”

Jefferson County Sheriff David Stanko and East Jefferson Fire Rescue Fire Chief Jim Walkowski agreed such live feeds could be invaluable for transmitting into emergency response vehicles.

“We could still be in the vehicle, but seeing which hallways are filled with smoke,” Walkowski said. “If you can see exactly where students are in the building, you can map out the most direct routes.”

Clarke added that the previous alarm system gave the school’s address only, but the new alarms narrow the source to specific rooms.

Stanko alluded to sending five of his deputies to ALICE (alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate) training, just as Clarke noted that a few Chimacum teachers were due for similar training. Washington State Patrol Trooper Jacob Kennett expressed enthusiasm for using the Chimacum schools for such training.

“Clallam County has done it when the schools are off-hours, and they got everybody involved, including border patrol, customs and the hospital,” Kennett said. “You don’t just stop when the threat is ended, but until after the site is cleared.”

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