SCHOOL SAFETY: Security Cameras Added

Des Moines schools are increasing security for students and teachers.  The district is adding nearly 200 more video security cameras.  That brings the total to 648 cameras in school buildings.

Most of the security cameras at Roosevelt are easy to spot, but you can easily miss a few.

“Kids ask and I tell them exactly where they’re at,” says Roosevelt Vice Principal Joe Blazevich.

In addition to keeping an eye on who is coming and going from the school, officials can see what’s happening in the hallways.  Blazevich says just because the cameras are always rolling doesn’t mean someone is always watching.

“We don’t have anyone who sits at the computer monitors all day and just tries to look for things that happen.  Of situations come up and they come to our door, that’s when we’re able to go back and look at the replay,” he says.

The 182 new security cameras will cost the district $370,000.  A federal school security grant will cover part of the cost.  Local taxpayers will pick up the rest of the tab.

“Every grade level, every level of school building is seeing them.  We don’t go into great detail about what buildings exactly have them and don’t for security reasons,” says Phil Roeder with Des Moines Public Schools.

Roeder says the district is well on its way to monitoring all 68 buildings.  In 2009, Des Moines had about 150 cameras.

“It’s a great peace of mind for parents and students because they know when drop their sons and their daughters off, they’re in a safe and secure environment,” says Blazevich.

In addition to schools, the district installed cameras in most buses.