Video camera system provides smart security for NY district

Nestled in a valley with rural surroundings, the Onondaga Central School District is located in picturesque upstate New York, just seven miles outside of Syracuse. In light of increasing violence at schools across the country, the school district’s administration wanted to help ensure that students and staff would be safe at all times while on school property. To that end, the district sought an “intelligent” video surveillance solution that would protect the district’s three schools and help prevent crime and vandalism.

The Challenge
The district decided to put a preventative security strategy in place to help protect its 1,000 students and 180 faculty. “We had no security surveillance systems on school grounds and we wanted to remedy this without realizing a significant increase in costs,” said Robert Sauro, Director of Technology for the district.In March 2009, at the same time Onondaga Central School District administration was determining what approach they would take, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that its Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) was making approximately $16 million available in grants to help improve school security. Superintendent Joseph Rotella learned of the program and secured a grant to cover 50 percent of the cost of implementing a security system across the district’s three elementary schools.

Sauro recalls, "The district decided to purchase security cameras for the schools. We wanted to be alerted to potential security threats before they happened, yet didn’t want a complex system with multiple parts that require specialists to implement and maintain. And we wanted something that worked with our existing network infrastructure but would not be a burden for our small IT staff.”

The Solution
After evaluating a number of video surveillance solutions, the district chose the VideoIQ iCVR, a video surveillance camera which combines automated event detection, a built-in DVR and integrated video management into a single product driven by analytics.

“We chose the iCVR because of its ease of implementation but also because of its analytic capabilities that identify and pinpoint security threats,” Sauro said. “When it detects a possible security issue, it automatically sends a video clip to designated administrators’ e-mail or cell phones so that we can evaluate and respond to the situation.”

The camera is able to store all video recorded on the DVR at the edge and control storage resolution based on what it “sees.” Up to two months worth of video can be stored. The stored video can be searched for a particular imag - like a car or a person.

There are currently 24 iCVR cameras installed across the three schools, and the district is considering expansion. Most importantly, Onondaga Central School District now has the means to monitor for and record any incidents that occur on its property.

“Once the camera is installed, it automatically calibrates and gets smarter with each object it detects. Its ability to identify when someone is loitering or crosses onto school grounds is critical to ensuring the safety of our property and students,” said Sauro. "Having a secure environment for our students and staff is always our top priority and the VideoIQ iCVR helps ensure this.”