SOUTHWICK - John J. Waitt didn't think Southwick nor the Southwick-Tolland Regional School District had the financial resources to provide state-of-the-art security cameras and equipment to ensure the safety of its students and staff.
And, if they did, he believes school security measures would not receive the top priority attention that he could provide.
So, Waitt, a Southwick resident and parent and president of IBS Electronics and Security, of Springfield, took matters in his company's hands and installed cameras and key card entry devices at each of the district's three public schools.
The cost was well over $20,000, school officials said.
Waitt was recognized for the effort recently and with a demonstration was given of how the new security system works at Woodland Elementary School.
Superintendent of Schools Thomas E. Witham said the system at Woodland is the same as systems IBS installed at Powder Mill Middle School and Southwick-Tolland Regional High School.
"This is not just front door buzzers but cameras and other equipment in the hallways, and the police department has access to the cameras should the need ever arise," Witham said.
"This security system helps our schools become more safe for students and staff," the superintendent said.
"The district would not be able to do this without the IBS and John Waitt's donation," Witham declared.
Waitt said his only intent was to "keep anyone who may have a malicious thought out of our schools. This purpose is for the safety of our kids and staff."
Woodland principal Kimberly J. Saso marveled at the new equipment.
"I can stand here in the office and see what is going on in the hallways throughout the school," she said. "More security makes people stop and sign in when they enter our school, and we also have the capability to review and check who came in and the time they came in," she said.
Administrators and other necessary staff will have identification badges that give them access to all three schools. Others will have badges that allow entry to their respective buildings, the superintendent said.
"In addition to the safety aspect of this system, I think that knowledge of having cameras in each building will serve as a deterrent to vandalism," Witham said.