Keller Citizen

Keller School District officials plan security camera upgrades

Keller district officials are in the process of replacing outdated security cameras and adding more cameras where they are needed.

The 2014 bond package included $2.5 million to improve the district’s video surveillance system.

There are about 1,300 cameras in the district’s 43 facilities (39 campuses and four other sites). Kevin Kinley, director of safety and security, said more than half of those cameras are analog and some of those units are not functioning well after ten years of service. The new Internet protocol (IP) cameras have much sharper pictures with a wider frame of reference. A single camera can cover more territory.

Kinley also wants to cover some of the “dark spots” on campuses with additional units. Having reliable equipment covering wide areas assists law enforcement and security personnel.

“Whenever we have any kind of incident, the first thing we do is look for cameras,” Kinley said.

District officials have been working on the security system over the last year using funds remaining in the 2008 bond. Crews completed the replacement of analog cameras at New Direction, Fossil Ridge and Central High schools and are finishing replacements at Keller and Hillwood Middle Schools. In the last year, trustees approved changing out old digital video recorders for new models with feeds that can be accessed by security personnel and district administrators from computers, tablets and smartphones.

With the 2014 bond money, officials plan to separate the camera upgrades into two phases. Eighteen facilities will be upgraded between this month and next January. Another 20 facilities will get new cameras between January and September of 2016.

In addition to the surveillance video system improvements, the 2014 bond includes $134,000 for fire alarm improvements. The 2008 bond funded replacements for outdated fire alarm s at Fossil Ridge, Keller and Hillwood middle schools and Whitley Road and Florence elementary schools. With 2014 funds, crews will replace fire alarm systems at Shady Grove Elementary and Chisholm Trail Intermediate schools.

Kinley said he chose the schools that get new systems by how often there have been problems with the fire alarm system. Two years ago, the fire system control panel at Bear Creek Intermediate School broke down, forcing a security person to be on campus for "fire watch" all day every day until it was repaired.