Sunday, September 02, 2007

School District Upgrades to Digital Mobile Video Surveillance Equipment

Updated: Aug 23, 2007 10:33pm
The Waco School District board members Thursday night approved a contractor to replace the VHS recorders in the school buses with digital video recorders.

The district believes the upgrade is in the best interest of the students and the drivers. There are concerning reasons why school districts across the country installed video cameras on school buses years ago to record exactly what happens on the way to and from school.

But the Waco School District says it wants something better so that's why they're getting an upgrade. "Technology is improving so much that we're gonna have DVR's put on the buses." Waco ISD Operation Supervisor Debra Baker said.

The new digital recorder will have more capabilities than the VHS recorder. The camera that's installed right now shows one wide shot of the entire bus.

But the new system will show 4 separate shots and different angles on the bus. One would be of the bus driver, the others of the front and the back of the bus and then the stairs.

"That's where most dangers are around the bus. Kids getting off and on the bus that would help us a lot right there." Waco ISD bus driver Freddie Buhl said.

And as recorded bus video has showed us in the past, it's not always the students in the wrong. "That way we could see the behavior of the kids and the driver too. So it benefits the students as well as the driver.” Buhl added.

The nearly $70,000 system should record clearer video and give transportation officials more options down the road.

"There's a lot of capabilities to the system, GPS tracking is even a possibility in the future." Baker added.

All in hopes that the threat of getting caught on camera will deter students and drivers from certain situations.

Waco hopes to have the new cameras installed by the end of September. The Killeen school district has a few digital cameras, but most are analog. All of Temple’s cameras use VHS recorders.