Grading Dougherty Co. School surveillance cameras - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Grading Dougherty Co. School surveillance cameras

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May 7, 2007

Albany -- Additional surveillance cameras may be installed in all public schools in Dougherty County. While newer schools have them, the older ones don't. And after tragedies like Virginia Tech and Columbine, school police want to make sure all school buildings are adequately monitored.

Students hurrying to class at Radium Middle School, and every step they take can be watched from video monitors in the Principal's Office, and at the Dougherty County School Police Headquarters downtown.

The new school has the latest in surveillance cameras inside and out. But some of the older schools do not, so Assistant Chief Steve Mitchum is going school to school to check to see where upgrades are needed.

The chance that a Virginia Tech or Columbine situation being spotted earlier by the cameras and possibly prevented is a big part of the assessment. Assistant Chief Steve Mitchum said "with all of the things that have been on in the past, safety I think is a big thing at any school."

There have been burglaries and break ins at some schools that have few surveillance cameras. Police know a better surveillance camera system will cut those. Mitchum said "just the mere presence of the cameras in the schools can cut down on some of the crimes that take place on campuses."

There are School Police Officers on hand at most schools, but one person can not be everywhere. But the cameras can be, and Mitchum has no doubt that most student's follow rules better when they know they are being watched. Mitchum said "the presence of the cameras, I believe, are a deterrent to bad behavior. They know they are being recorded, and they know we can pull up this video at any time."

 School police can keep watch with the new surveillance cameras at their headquarters, as well as Principals in the office. Mitchum would like to see all the schools camera systems upgraded, to prevent all types of crimes at Dougherty County Schools.

Mitchum will complete his assessment of the surveillance systems at the schools in a few weeks. He'll then issue a report to the Dougherty County School Board. They'll decide what safety upgrades to make.

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