10News reviews video camera inspection log for Knox Schools

7:09 PM, Feb 26, 2013   |    comments
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10News is learning more about reviews of video surveillance equipment in Knox County Schools.  This comes almost a month after an audit came to light that documents deficiencies at two school campuses.
Recently, we told you about the results of, what we were led to believe was, a full review of security systems. Instead, documents for that inspection done last summer show it only covered burglar alarms. 10News then requested reports of video surveillance systems.

School officials won't say exactly how many cameras are installed throughout the district for security reasons.  They did confirm there are more than 2,000 and not every school has them.

10News first looked at the camera inspection log last week, going back to September, 2009 through February 4, 2013.  It did not include records for seven of those months. On Tuesday, officials located reports for four of the missing months, and provided 10News with copies of all of them.
According to the spreadsheet, less than 100 cameras have had issues.  Problems include video loss, being too dark, fuzzy or distorted, and obstructed views.

District officials said second and third shift employees are supposed to inspect the cameras each month.  But, the process for schools reporting issues to those who make repairs has recently changed.

"One of the things that we changed in the last few months is that once we do a system-level review that we don't just provide that information to the schools and ask them to put in the work order. We share that information directly with the folks who repair and maintain those cameras," said Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre.

The camera inspection reports are on an Excel spread sheet; it does not contain information other than which cameras need repair.  That's for security reasons, according to district officials. They also acknowledge the surveillance systems are not perfect but they do what they're supposed to do.
It's unclear who monitors the systems, although Dr. McIntyre said he and other district employees do have access to the feeds.

Upgrading the cameras, and installing them in more schools, is part of Dr. McIntyre's proposed school security plan. That also includes upgrading and installing key-less entry systems, and assigning an armed officer to every school.
A community meeting to address that plan is scheduled at Amherst Elementary for March 5, 2013 at 6 p.m.  County leaders will meet to discuss security on Friday at 4pm at the AJ Building.

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