Dayton Public Schools Investing $3.3 Million in Surveillance

Dayton Public Schools Investing $3.3 Million in Surveillance

According to Associate Superintendent Shelia Burton, Dayton Public Schools will increase the number of cameras on all 27 campuses while upgrading to newer video surveillance tech with clearer images.

Dayton Public Schools in Dayton, Ohio, is investing $3.3 million in upgrades to its video surveillance equipment in all 27 of the district’s schools. The changes were spurred by multiple instances where current cameras were unable to capture incidents on campus with enough detail to identify suspects.

In a May 2016 incident at World of Wonder school, a 7-year-old girl was stabbed during recess on the playground but camera footage wasn’t clear enough for the attacker to be identified by police.

“Throughout my time on this board, probably the most emotional instance for me was the stabbing at World of Wonder,” DPS board member John McManus said.

This year, there were also legal questions with the Ohio High School Athletic Association about Dunbar basketball eligibility due to questions about an on-court fight. Security cameras in Dunbar’s gym didn’t completely cover the court and participants in the brawl were misidentified, leading to Dunbar’s ban from the 2019 postseason.

According to Associate Superintendent Shelia Burton, Dayton Public Schools will increase the number of cameras on all 27 campuses while upgrading to newer video surveillance tech with clearer images.

“The cameras we have now are limited,” Burton said. “We can’t get many angles. … With these new cameras, we can get more of a 360-degree view, and the quality is much, much better.”

Burton said the new cameras will also have a significant boost to video storage capacity in case Dayton Public Schools needs to review previous footage. The system is “as state-of-the-art as we can afford,” Burton said.

DPS Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said the district’s current cameras are as old as the buildings themselves—more than a decade old, and “an old technology.” She said district officials have been working on the camera upgrade project for months, comparing systems at other Ohio schools.

“We’re going from analog to digital, and the quality is just phenomenally, vastly different,” said Richard Wright, DPS executive director of safety and security. “We’ve had issues with clarity and being able to identify individuals. This will help us better identify the subjects we have on video for information we can turn over to Dayton Police or other law enforcement.”

According to Lolli, the new equipment should be set up by the end of this school year.

“It’s a move in the right direction for students,” Wright said, “to make sure students and staff are safe.”

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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