“The video tells the whole, unbiased truth,” Murray commented. “No more ‘he said, she said’, we know what actually happened in the incidents we need to investigate. Our cameras are an unbiased third party.” The Security Department reviews video to investigate missing property, vandalism, and altercations. But it is also used to evaluate if slips and falls actually happened, when reported, and in instances where a student might accuse a teacher or staff member of an improper action, the video serves to exonerate sometimes too.
Each campus has access only to their own camera views, with the school principal and Student Resource Officer monitoring the video. Both White and Murray’s departments and the Caddo Parish Superintendent have access to all camera views, which are managed by Stanley’s B.A.S.I.S. video management software. The new, upgraded IP video system is meeting Caddo’s needs in terms of image quality and coverage, and it’s a breath of fresh air from their old technology, “I can’t tell you the number of times we had failures in the prior system,” White recalled none too fondly.
Murray reports that cameras are deployed to monitor all common areas, hallways, cafeterias, auditoriums, “where students congregate, entrances and exits, too, but we do not monitor in the classrooms. We use the cameras to keep an eye out where we don’t have personnel, checking if students are leaving campus from where they aren’t supposed to, and monitoring gates for unwanted visitors.” Staff also monitor burglar alarms after hours to guard against trespassing.
“Of course, we use our video surveillance capabilities for security,” Murray explained, “but our Risk Management folks use it to check the validity of slip and fall claims. Our principals use it to aid them in managing discipline. We use the system for a whole range of purposes.”
Once the current phase of installation is completed, and all Caddo Parish’s schools have been covered, Murray and White intend to return to where it all started—the five original schools—to retrofit them with IQeye cameras and to unify those schools into an impressive network that stretches from one end of the parish school district all the way to other with 69 school campuses in between.