South Dakota Schools to Split Homeland Security Grant for Cameras

ABERDEEN, S.D. -- Four Brown County schools will use a $400,000 homeland security grant for cameras and other improvements, local officials said.

Security surveillance cameras will be installed at Aberdeen Roncalli High School and at the Groton, Frederick and Warner schools. Security doors will be installed at some of the schools.

The money also will be used for other programs and departments.

"Ever since Columbine, security in schools has been an issue," said Brown County Emergency Management Director Robinson, referring to the April 1999 shootings that left 13 victims dead at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.

Roncalli gets $25,057 for 16 cameras, said Pat Gallagher, Roncalli development officer. He said Roncalli is working with the other schools to find a single vendor for all the cameras.

"Security isn't so much a problem in the school, but this is another precaution that we can take," Gallagher said.

Frederick Area Schools get 21 cameras, three new exterior doors and new outdoor lighting.

Superintendent Kirk Easton said Warner's 16 cameras will monitor entry points, hallways and the school gym. "Hopefully it will be a deterrent for hallway behavior," Easton said.

Groton will receive 20 cameras as part of its $47,000 grant to monitor the elementary and high school. "The cameras aren't foolproof, but they complement our emergency response plans," Superintendent Larry Klapperich said.

Robinson told the Brown County Commission this week that his department got the $400,000 grant after a planning committee heard from dozens of groups on the best way to use the money.

Camera installation could start during Christmas break.

Information from: Aberdeen American News,

(c) 2005 Associated Press