School of Success: Safeguarding Our Future
South Carolina school sought security to provide students with knowledge and skills
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- December 01, 2019
Georgetown County School
District (GCSD) is located on
the South Carolina coast and
serves approximately 9,500
students throughout its 10
elementary schools, four middle schools,
four high schools, career center and adult
education center. The mission of its 1,400
employees is to provide all students with the
knowledge and skills that will prepare them
for citizenship within a diverse society.
In 2016, GCSD found itself with a sparse,
end-of-life camera system; replacements were
not available for its legacy cameras, and with
increased safety risks to staff and students, the
district knew it was time to address gaps in
coverage. To implement improvements
throughout the school district -including a
major security upgrade- a bond referendum
was held. Within the community, 80 percent
voted in favor of the renovation budget, making
it one of the most successful bond referendums
in South Carolina history. Upon its success,
GCSD set its sights on a smart-security
system with increased coverage to help mitigate
misconduct while offering greater easeof-
use for school administrators, security officers
and law enforcement officials.
A System Evolution
To enhance security across its numerous
campuses, GCSD deployed a complete video
security and critical communications solution
including Avigilon Control Center
(ACC) video management software, Motorola
Solutions XPR 3500e radios and over
1,000 Avigilon cameras.
The wide range of Avigilon cameras that
GCSD selected offer numerous features to
effectively meet the unique needs of each of
its locations. The H4A Bullet camera is
embedded with Avigilon self-learning video
analytics designed to recognize the movements and characteristics of people and vehicles while ignoring any
activity that is not relevant to a scene. These cameras were selected to
help alert security officers of potentially critical events to help enable
a proactive response.
The H4 Mini Dome and H4 Fisheye cameras were also chosen due to
their exceptional low-light performance; they feature infrared and
LightCatcher technologies to overcome challenging lighting conditions,
day or night. Together, the selection of cameras that GCSD installed
offer a tailored security solution for each of its school environments.
In addition to the capabilities of the new cameras, GCSD’s administrators
and dedicated security officers have reported that they are
extremely satisfied with the usability of the new system, which has
allowed for a centralized, collaborative approach to security.
The Motorola Solutions XPR 3500e radios GCSD uses across its
locations allow security operators to quickly contact each other if a
suspicious activity is flagged by the Avigilon solution, enabling them
to take immediate action to keep students and staff safe. Together, the
two systems help school officials seamlessly improve operations from
the time an emergency call is placed until after an incident is resolved.
The radio system is operated by the district and provides countywide
Since GCSD’s complete Avigilon and Motorola Solutions system was
deployed, its advanced capabilities have benefited all of the departments
that rely on it. School administrators have reported that ACC
software is easy to use and it has given them a greater ability to collaborate
with the district office in real-time when reviewing video of
events, providing them with actionable information and the ability to
make decisions together.
For the schools’ security officers, Avigilon self-learning video analytics
have expedited searches by presenting them with the desired
information in a timely fashion, rather than requiring them to hunt
through the system for events. Additionally, the new Avigilon solution
has allowed first responders to access a location’s video in near
real-time before arriving, providing greater insight when responding
to an event. When on site, Motorola Solutions radios keep them connected
so that they are armed with the right information when
responding to the incident.
Overall, the system has promoted better collaboration, helped
improve efficiency and offered greater insight to those who use it.
Expanding its security and surveillance system has also helped
mitigate misconduct amongst the students. Many students were
aware of the gaps in the old system and would cause mischief in blind
spots so that there was no video evidence of incidents that occurred,
such as smoking, skipping class, vandalism or bullying.
Now that the system is much more robust, there are fewer behavioral
incidents, and when they do occur, the ability to respond to them with
clear video evidence has helped streamline disciplinary actions. School
administrators can easily bookmark video clips, making it easy to refer
back to when addressing an incident without storing the video.
School of Success
Before installing a complete Avigilon and Motorola Solutions system,
GCSD found itself with an outdated system that had gaps in coverage
and offered little reliability. Today, GCSD is satisfied knowing that its
campuses are equipped with state-of- the-art security and critical
communications technologies, helping to better protect its students,
staff and resources.
This article originally appeared in the November/December 2019 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.