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Edmonds School District putting many more cameras on campuses

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EDMONDS, Wash. -- The Edmonds School District is beefing up its security -- and you may be surprised to learn just how many eyes will soon be watching what goes on at the schools.

"These are a fact of life in our society, you can't go to the bank, a grocery store or the mall without being on surveillance equipment so it's us joining the rest of society with the tools you need to keep people and property safe," said Debbie Joyce Jakala of the school district.

Safe and secure -- that`s the goal for the Edmonds School District, and that means 500 cameras across 34 schools.

"You know, the main purpose for this is the safety and security of our staff, if we are looking at a violent intruder, if we`re looking at damage to our buildings, those kinds of things," said Layne Erdman, who oversees safety and emergency preparedness for the district.

"We`re not looking to interfere with the learning environment and we so we want to focus on safety and security, not necessarily what`s happening in a classroom," Erdman said.

Right now some schools already have cameras monitoring the parking lots and school property. It`s a project that will take some time. And district is hoping to complete the work over the course of five years.

"We`ll have electronic access devices at doors so we can quickly go into lockdowns, we can monitor who`s coming in and out," Erdman said.

The Web-based system will cover areas inside and outside the schools as well as public areas.

This will meet the requirements adopted in March by the Edmonds School Board. The images collected by the cameras may also be used in cases of student and employee discipline.

"For example, we had a BB gun incident here a few years back and they were able to capture the kids who had the BB guns," Erdman said. "Well, that`s turned over to police, it's used for that type of information.

"If we had a violent intruder come in like they had at Marysville-Pilchuck, all of that data and all of that video would be kept and stored."

Jakala said, "Our administrators need as many tools in their tool box as possible to be able to address a disciplinary issue now with the ability to go back and look at video of an alleged incident and make the correct disciplinary decision."

We're told raw footage will be stored for 30 days and then recorded over. The only time footage will be saved is if something significant happens.

The public would also be able to request this video. The funding comes from money set aside from a voter-approved bond last year.





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