Security at East Providence’s secondary schools will be beefed by the police department by the end of March.
The East Providence Budget Commission approved the spending of $37,150 in asset-forfeiture cash to add access-control equipment to the Martin and Riverside middle schools, and the Career and Technical school next to the high school, and 16 more cameras to the 15 that are already installed in the hallways, staircases and common areas at the high school.
The money for the security cameras is actually coming from a Homeland Security fund earmarked for the Providence urban area. That money will reimburse the police department for the cameras.
The access-control cameras will be aimed at the entrances to the middle schools and career center, said, said Det. Lt. Michael David. They will be linked to an intercom system that allows a secretary or a principal in the main offices 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 exist the buildings,” David said.
All of the elementary schools already have the access-control equipment.
The high school cannot rely on one camera to scan whomever comes and goes because of its layout and more than one entrance. The police department uses, instead, a system of cameras that 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.”
The beefing up of security is a joint effort by the police and the schools, David said. Toney Feola, a facility supervisor for the schools, for instance, provided guidance as to “where to put the cameras in the high school.”
The federal grant is part of the Urban Area Security Initiative. It can only be used for physical security items – such as cameras and intercom systems.
Dane Tech Inc. of Johnston will install the cameras by the end of March. It offered the lowest bid for the cameras and their installation.