Beefing Up Secondary School Security
By the end of this week, more than $37,000 worth of cameras and access-control equipment will be added to East Providence's secondary schools.
By the end of this week, more than $37,000 worth of new security equipment is expected to be installed in East Providence’s secondary schools.
Anthony Feola, a facilities manager for the East Providence Public Schools, and East Providence Police Lt. David Blinn made that report to the School Committee last week.
The new equipment includes 16 additional cameras at East Providence High School, and new access-control equipment to Martin and Riverside Middle Schools and the Career and Technical Center next to the high school.
The equipment is being purchased by the East Providence Police Department for the schools with a Homeland Security grant earmarked for the city.
The cameras will be added to the 15 already in the hallways, staircases and common areas in the high school.
The access-control equipment includes cameras that will be aimed at the entrances to the middle schools and career centers and an intercom system that allows a secretary or a principal in the office to talk with a visitor at the front door of the school.
“Our goal is to provide secure access at the primary entrance point to all the schools so that personnel are aware of all the people who enter and exit the buildings,” said Det. Lt. Michael David, who has been coordinating the purchase of the equipment with Feola.
All of the elementary schools except for Whiteknact already have camera and card access-control equipment, said Feola. A buzzer system is used there. But as soon as the Oldham school is shut down, he said, the camera and card-access system there will be moved to Whiteknact.
The high school must rely on multiple cameras to scan whomever comes and goes because of its layout and more than one entrance. The system of cameras provide feeds to police officers responding to a report of an incident in the school. The feed is exactly the same feed that the school office can see every minute of the day.
“If there is an incident,” David said, “the cameras will send a feed to three tablets. Police officers can log into the remote feed and get a view before they arrive at the school."
Blinn told the School Committee: “We want people to know that we have plenty of safety precautions in place.”
He was responding to a concern by School Committee member Anthony Ferreira that too much information about security might be counter-productive.