When the high school in Tewksbury, Mass., decided it was going to take a proactive stance on security, they installed one of the most sophisticated integrated security systems.
The idea was precipitated by Police Chief John Mackey in terms of his concern for the welfare and well being of the children.
In conjunction with the Tewksbury Police Department and the Tewksbury Memorial High School(TMHS), Vanguard Managed Solutions, Mansfield, Mass., formerly Motorola Multiservice Networks Division, issued its SafeWatch security approach to alleviate security concerns at the high school. Motorola is helping the local law enforcement respond to emergencies by providing real-time or archived access to information in potentially dangerous situations.
Anthony Romano, principal of TMHS said that Chief Mackey drafted a proposal and met with school officials and Dr. Christine McGrath, Superintendent of Schools, to discuss it. The proposal was to add a security system at TMHS and expand that eventually to other public schools in the town.
"The cameras are not installed to monitor activities of everyone on a daily basis, but only if there is a threat to the well-being of students or personnel," Romano says. "It is a tool that's in place to enhance our ability for communications should an incident occur."
SafeWatch is a complete real-time video monitoring system, allowing public safety officials, in the event of an emergency, to remotely activate cameras located in the public areas of a school. The images can be viewed and the cameras can be controlled from a public safety facility or vehicle. This provides public safety officials with a real-time view of the affected area and allows them to make informed decisions on how to address an emergency situation. In the event of an emergency, SafeWatch immediately notifies the police for instant viewing. The school, however, monitors activity on a continuous basis.
Police Chief John Mackey is also highly visible and vocal in his approach to part of a consortium called NEMLEC (North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council) which is made up of 35 - 40 communities in the area. Dealing with Rick Stanley, North Andover Police Chief and NEMLEC, they thought that it might be a good idea to eventually move in a direction where they could put this in all the schools in the NEMLEC region, which would be substantial. "Again, the sole reason being is to help us make a good, logical decision as to how to move and how to move quickly at a school location under the worst possible scenario that you can imagine," says Mackey.