School to upgrade cameras, have direct feed to police dispatchSubmitted: 06/17/2014
Story By Adam Fox

MINOCQUA - The Minocqua-Hazelhurst-Lake Tomahawk Elementary School will upgrade its cameras and video system this summer, before students return for the fall start of the school year.

The school will be upgrading its analog system to an digital IP based video system with better video quality. MHLT Director of Technology Jay Christgau says they will help staff see what actually happens during fights or bullying situations. He says that people and faces can be blurry on their current system in certain areas.

The upgrade compares to a shift from standard to high-definition television, and will help when they might not discover a problem the day of an incident.

"(You don't find) perhaps some vandalism or something like that until a day or two afterwards," Christgau. "And if we can only identify the players by what they're wearing, we're not going to be able to be successful at it."

Leaders at the school also hope camera upgrades will provide more security, especially after a high school shooting last week in Oregon that ended with a 14-year-old and the shooter dead.

The new system will help police in the area track a person through the school or through the parking lots if needed.

"So it makes it a lot easier to track, if we had a worst case scenario where we needed to track somebody in the building that would be something we could do very easily," Christgau said.

The police dispatch center in the area will also have direct access to the school's camera system.

Christgau says officers will also have access from their squad cars if needed.
"They'll be able to use them for other things, but they'll also be hooked up so that they can go in and review our cameras, watch them live, or go in, go back and review previous data," Christgau said.

The school will use a new system called Milestone. It will give school leaders the ability to access the school's cameras on multiple types of digital devices and has a simpler interface.

"(This program) actually has a map of the school, and then you are able to just on the various camera positions so that the user on the client can just click on those cameras and see that image."

The school will save a substantial amount of money by running the lines and installing the cameras themselves. The board set aside $28,540 for the project. The cameras will be set up in the hallways in the school. Christgau says they don't put cameras inside of bathrooms or classrooms at the school.

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