Chicago Schools, Police To Share School Security Camera Video

From T.H.E. Journal

Chicago Public Schools and city administrators have agreed on a partnership that will give the Chicago Police Department and the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications a remote connection to the cameras installed inside and outside Chicago schools.

The move was announced by Chicago's mayor, Richard M. Daley, against the backdrop of violence during which four public school students were killed and another five wounded in separate gun incidents.

"When this program is fully implemented over the next few months, we will have a comprehensive school security system that will make it far easier for us to respond more quickly and effectively to any emergency at a school building," Daley said. "The step we're announcing ... will help us keep our young people safer when they are in and around school buildings throughout the city."

Until now, the real-time video provided by more than 4,500 cameras inside and outside about 200 public elementary and high schools and administrative sites has been accessible only to school officials. Under the new agreement, the police department and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications will have a remote connection to the safety cameras.

According to reporting by the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago's existing surveillance network includes more than 10,000 public and private cameras. The cost of the school-focused upgrade, $418,000, will be financed by Department of Homeland Security funds.

The cameras will not be monitored, according to the Sun-Times report. They'll be accessed when emergency personnel are alerted.

The system will be implemented over the next few months. It will allow first responders to an emergency situation at a school to be able to see real-time video from inside and outside the building on portable data terminals.

Beginning March 22, the city will also be putting into effect new curfew hours. Starting that night for young people under 17, the curfew will start at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

About the author: Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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