Jackson County School District turns to Video Insight for centralized video management solution
Nestled within the peaks and the valleys of the southernmost area of the Appalachian Mountain Range, the Jackson County School District encompasses 150 miles in northeast Alabama. The beautiful, yet diverse, terrain presented obstacles to school administrators in how best to monitor happenings with the district’s 18 campuses, 7,000 students, and three administration buildings.
Geographically Diverse School District Operating on a Very Small Analog System
“We saw a drastic need for increased safety efforts at our campuses as we grew and our administration determined that the best way to meet our standards was to develop a comprehensive plan that included the uniform implementation of video surveillance at all of our campuses,” said Jackson County Schools Network Administrator, Dennis Morris. The problem was that they were basically starting from scratch.
“We really had no system to speak of when we entered the video surveillance market. We had three schools that had some analog black and white cameras and that was it,” said Morris.
The district knew that their goal of district wide, uniform surveillance would be an investment, but they made an agreement with principals that the district would fund the initial setup for each campus through capital outlay. Principals agreed to fund additional cameras and equipment as they saw an increased need.
Jackson County approached Information Transport Solutions, Inc. (ITS) of Wetumpka, Alabama, to help them develop and implement a plan. As an integrating partner of Video Insight, ITS – who does business with 80 percent of the K-12 school market in the state of Alabama – knew Video Insight would offer the best solution.
Information Transport Solutions, Inc. Integrator
Axis Communications Cameras
Video Insight Enterprise VMS
IP Video Surveillance at Every Campus and Building
It might not look like it from the scenic mountain views but Jackson County Schools are an epicenter of technology – the result of 13 years of working with ITS, said Morris. With industrial fiber input to all 18 schools, 1 gig of bandwidth and fiber optic cabling to every classroom (with Cisco POE switches), Jackson County has developed the technological infrastructure to support the best method of video surveillance: an IP solution.
“ITS sells solutions– not just boxes,” said ITS Account Manager, Tonya Phillips.
“As trusted advisors, we encourage a unified network where everything is managed centrally and we knew that Video Insight offered an IP video surveillance solution that would allow maximum usage of the infrastructure we have helped Jackson County put in place.”
“The Video Insight software is an excellent product that offers the user options to tailor fit it to their specific needs, while also being very user friendly,” said Phillips. “Plus, the affordable pricing makes it very competitive and easy for us to recommend.”
Jackson County technology personnel installed Dell servers operating the Video Insight IP software at each of their 21 buildings. They have installed close to 450 Axis cameras across the district, and add more each month.
Morris said they have installed the cameras in the key school safety places as well as areas that need to be monitored for potential theft including: hallways, lunch rooms, library, transportation facility fuel pumps, maintenance facility parts storage, the agricultural barn and garbage dumpsters.
Administrators and safety officers at each building are given the rights to monitor their own campus from a monitoring station or remotely from the web. Morris said that many of the principals have chosen to install a separate computer with larger LCD monitors, particularly at the high school level where they may have more than 32 cameras to monitor. The superintendent and Morris have access to monitor buildings across the district.
Morris said they have seen a dramatic decrease in discipline issues in common areas such as water fountains, lunchrooms and parking lots. “It’s amazing – when they know they are being watched – it truly is a deterrent,” he said. “There is just an overall feeling of security with the video solution we have in place.” There is also less theft of equipment, and when there is, they get it back.
“We had the Bridgeport Alabama Police Department call us very early one morning before dawn,” said Morris. “They had picked up a guy who was driving a John Deere Gator hauling computers and other equipment – all of which had Jackson County School ID’s on it. We pulled up the recordings from that night and in crystal clear color video there this guy was in our agriculture barn stealing from us. By 8 a.m. the guy had been arrested and we had our equipment back and our Ag students were putting it back on the shelves.”
“We never would have been able to offer proof like that without our Video
Insight system in place,” said Morris. “We are really proud of it – proud to be one of the first to have it at this level. A lot of places have cameras and ‘eyes in the sky’ but that’s totally different from what we have.”