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Indoor/Outdoor Cameras Improve School District’s Security

Located in Texarkana, Texas, Liberty-Eylau Independent School District (LEISD) has been serving communities since 1886. Today, the district has more than 2,700 K-12 students across six schools, including a high school, a middle-intermediate school, an elementary school, a primary school, a pre-K center, and a School of Success.

With safety being a core part of LEISD’s vision statement, it is no surprise that district leaders strive to do all they can to ensure the safest school environments possible. In early 2013, however, the district realized that it needed to make some serious improvements to its security infrastructure. According to Matt Fry, LEISD Media Coordinator, 40 analog cameras were being used district-wide, and some campuses were not covered at all.

“The cameras offered some basic coverage outside, but not a lot inside,” he said. “Worse yet, they had very poor picture quality and big lag time lapses between frames, so we couldn’t really use the video for much. We knew it was time to update to a more modern, digital solution with a lot higher resolution.”

Fry took these challenges to the TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association) conference in February 2013, where he met security networking experts from D- Link, a developer and manufacturer of network solutions and IP surveillance, who proposed a follow-up meeting to discuss the district’s specific needs.

“We also wanted a system that was scalable so we could take it district-wide, plus provide the ability to do remote monitoring,” Fry said.

The Solution

Shortly after the conference, the team brought in a local technology integrator, CMC Network Solutions, and met on site to examine the district’s existing network infrastructure and physical layout, while discussing its specific IP surveillance requirements.

“Among other things, the district needed the ability to archive video data for up to 30 days, so they could review incidents after the fact, if necessary,” said Scott Broekemeier, Principal at the Plano, TX-based CMC Network Solutions. “After the site survey, we created a custom design that provided the performance, resolution, and coverage they desired.”

Having reviewed bids from multiple providers, LEISD ultimately chose the technology from D-Link: IP cameras, switches, video storage, and access control. The district purchased a complete 240-camera security system that included a mix of D-Link IP indoor and outdoor cameras (most offering Full HD 2 megapixel resolution), as well as D-Link switches, SAN Storage, Video Insight video management software, dedicated VMS servers, and access control products for tighter security at doors and entry points. D-Link Indoor Day and Night Dome IP Cameras also offer integrated mechanical IR filters and infrared LEDs to allow the viewing and recording of video, even in complete darkness.

CMC Network Solutions hosts all of the traffic on a separate VPN network, which does not conflict with the district’s existing data network traffic. Fortunately, CMC was able to use some of LEISD’s existing fiber backbone, which helped keep costs down.

IP Cameras in Action

The solution was installed over the summer, giving the district the surveillance it needed for when the new school year began. The high-definition IP cameras provide higher-quality video images and simplified remote monitoring — even from mobile devices. Additionally, the new solution is making life easier for the local police department.

“Officers really like the mobile capability, where they can access video from their phones or tablets and see what’s happening on campus,” said Fry. “One time an officer called because he noticed lights on in the gym after hours. Even though I was out of town, I was able to pull up video images on my smart-phone and see for myself, so I could address the situation.”

Thanks to the solution’s centralized management, each campus can keep a watchful eye on its own facility, while administrators at the district office can view video from all six campuses at the same time. The district is already planning to add a few more to provide extra visibility and more zoom on a few additional areas like entry gates.

“This was a huge purchase for our school district; and since we’re using taxpayer dollars, we take that very seriously,” said Fry.

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