Indiana District Updates Video Surveillance Technology

Indiana District Updates Video Surveillance Technology

Lake Central Technology Director Rick Moreno said that even with more than 300 cameras in place at the high school, there are still places inside and outside the campus where 100 to 150 cameras could be added.

The Lake Central School Corp. uses more than 300 cameras to help secure its campuses. Camera use and technology has changed a great deal in the last decade due to school shootings such as the Feb. 14, 2018 Parkland shooting, which left 17 people dead.

Lake Central Technology Director Rick Moreno told NWI Times that about a decade ago, the high school only had about 10 cameras monitoring activity inside and outside of the building. The number of cameras increased to about 180 by 2017, when the district decided to upgrade to using more than 300 on campus—a necessity for the large high school.

The middle schools have about 75 cameras and the elementary schools have cameras at their main entrances.

Moreno said some cameras have fisheye lenses, which can sweep a larger area and essentially do the work of three cameras. The cameras now have four or five megabytes of storage, rather than one.

“We want to track someone walking through the high school, and, if they are carrying something, we want to follow that through the building,” Moreno said. “We want to cover as much as we can and cover every area that needs to be covered.”

According to Moreno, the first cameras the district used were low-resolution and placed at only a few locations. In the past, the security monitors might by checked by the principal once in a while to make sure things are going alright. Now, Lake Central schools have police officers on campus every day who can keep better track of what’s going on in the school.

Moreno said the increased number of cameras has made it more difficult for the software to store all of the information captured. Occasional glitches result in lost footage because the computer has to restart. He said he’s gathering information on the necessary equipment to upgrade the system, and that other similarly-sized districts in the state are facing the same issues.

Even with more than 300 cameras in place at the high school, Moreno said there are still places inside and outside the campus where 100 to 150 cameras could be added. He hopes to have the equipment installed in 45 to 60 days, and said it will take a week or two of fine-tuning to get everything running smoothly.

“Businesses, airports and higher education have increased the use of security cameras to deter and investigate issues,” Superintendent Larry Veracco said. “We have felt the need to incorporate cameras as one of the many tools to address security. The best tool is still the presence of staff members, and, at time, parts of the school are only minimally populated. At these times the cameras do support our security goals.”

Lake Central is also working to add cameras to the stop arms on all its school buses to make it easier for police to ticket people who don’t obey traffic and safety rules related to buses.

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