Chambers County School District adds security cameras

Published 5:21 pm Tuesday, August 27, 2019

LaFAYETTE — Chambers County School District administrators can keep an eye on all school property at any time of the day.

New security cameras have been installed at all the schools and Superintendent Dr. Kelli Hodge says they are being put in so there are no blind spots at any school.

The footage from the cameras can be viewed at any time from smartphone or laptop as long as it can get online.

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“The administrators all have them on their phones and the central office can put it at any time,” Hodge said.  

Chambers County Schools Safety Director Benji Mitchum said the former cameras were limited in what they could capture, plus the viewing quality is light years ahead.

“This is captured and recorded on a VHS tape,” he said. “Everything is crystal clear, and it’s all backed up on a server so we can always go back and see anything we need to.”  

The cameras were purchased as part of a safety grant from the state for school safety initiatives.

“The biggest help is that it takes out a lot of the potential blind spots we had with the old security system,” Mitchum said.

The number of cameras differs from each school depending on size, shape of the school and how many entrances and exits points there are.

For some schools, having cameras is a new experience like Bob Harding Shawmut Elementary, which had zero. Others will see its camera count increase heavily, like LaFayette High School, which will have at least 10 additional cameras.

“We are trying to make sure we are getting every spot,” Hodge said. “Inside the school and outside the school.”

Valley High School will have the most cameras with about 30 because it’s the largest campus, Mitchum said.

Additionally, any piece of data can be saved indefinitely within 90 days if needed to be reviewed. After 90 days, Mitchum said the tapes start to record over itself.

Mitchum, who is a former principal in the district, said the cameras give administrators a chance to have eyes at all points of the school and the ability to review incidents.

“You can only be in one place as a principal,” he said. “If you are on one side of a school as a principal and you need to see what is happening on the other side of the school, you can do it that way.”

Also, he said it should give parents and students peace of mind because now all exits and entrances are being monitored at all times.