Securing the District
San Leandro opts for digital technologies to secure district schools
- By Dave Van Hoy
- August 01, 2019
California’s San Leandro
Unified School District
(SLUSD) knew it was time
to update its CCTV system.
Manuel Ruiz, the
chief technology officer at SLUSD, said it was
a mishmash of analog and digital technologies
that “just wasn’t working well.”
School safety was the top priority for a
new CCTV system, of course, as the SLUSD
supports more than 9,000 students across 13
schools in the district. The district hired
Advanced Systems Group (ASG), based in
Emeryville, Calif., to design and install an
updated IP-based CCTV system. The solution
provided a reliable and secure bridge
between video technology and IP, and delivers
excellent results for the school.
Bandwidth was not an issue; SLUSD built
out its network several years ago to support a
massive expansion of services. That said,
ASG was challenged to design a system that
met very specific requirements to avoid
ongoing costs to the district’s general fund.
- New cameras needed to be designed for
- Neither new cameras nor new software
platforms could require annual licensing
- Any new technology needed to support a
non-proprietary, “virtual friendly” infrastructure
that worked with the district’s
existing virtual environment
“ASG understood that and obviously came
up with a great solution for us,” Ruiz said.
The new system includes more than 750
new CCTV cameras across the district,
including a variety of 1080p indoor models
and 4K outdoor models. Cameras are positioned
to monitor hallways, building
entrances, and exterior spaces, not classrooms.
Rabinder Mangewala, senior director
at SLUSD, said the cameras deliver exceptional
The extensive array of CCTV cameras
has its own VLAN, with video traffic separated
from other traffic on the network.
ASG also selected an open architecture
IP video camera platform, which allows
SLUSD to create firewalls to restrict access
to CCTV cameras and footage.
ASG partnered with Walker Telecomm in
Wheatland, Calif., for camera installation,
while the district hired a security consultant
to collaborate during the design process.
Mangewala and Ruiz praised ASG’s handson
approach to the project, which included
walking each site to help identify camera
counts and optimal installation locations.
“A public school district is often short of
resources,” Ruiz said. “We don’t have extra
staff to manage these types of projects.
Being able to find a vendor to provide us
with that type of resource was helpful. Not
only did ASG do that, but support was
The new $1.5 million system not only provides
video support for all district schools,
but it provides coverage of offices, a community
center and other district facilities. It was
funded by a bond that generated monies for
safety and technology. Planning for the project
began in October 2017, but new camera
deployment did not begin until May 2018.
Administrators, who received training,
are using the new CCTV system regularly.
Mangewala said it can capture student disciplinary
issues on video, so administrators do
not have to spend as much time investigating
“Because the system is so good, investigation
time is greatly reduced,” Mangewala
said. “It can make a huge difference in
“Our new CCTV system is another
example of our commitment to student
safety at San Leandro,” said Dr. Michael
McLaughlin, district superintendent.
“Today, technology is a foundational component
of any security plan. ASG and our
other partners have made it much easier for
our administrators to help maintain a safe
environment at our schools.”
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.