Some key Naperville Unit District 203 officials will soon be capable of monitoring their junior high and high schools in real time whether they're down the hall or 10 states away thanks to $180,000 in security upgrades over the next two years.
The district has begun using a new security program that will allow certain administrators to view and control live security camera footage from their desk or smartphone.
"You could be on the road in Wisconsin, log into the app and view live images," district telecommunications officer Chris Kunzer said.
Access is expected to be granted to all building administrators, facility managers and security employees. The new LexRay system, from Lisle's Lextech Labs, also will allow users to pan individual cameras, zoom in on license plates in the parking lot and take still photos.
Roger Brunelle, the district's chief information officer, said the switch allows officials to be more proactive with their monitoring. The current system only allows previously recorded footage to be reviewed.
The Naperville Police Department also will have the ability to access the cameras with the touch of a button in an emergency.
"If by some turn of events there was something like a shooter walking the halls, we could hit a button and (police) could access cameras and find out what hall they were in, where they were headed," Brunelle said.
Currently there are 65 cameras at Naperville Central High School and 25 at Naperville North High School. A portion of the cost will go toward updating obsolete cameras at Central and installing 47 new cameras, 37 at North and 10 in the junior high schools.
School board member Dave Weeks expressed concern for privacy and whether cameras would be "in the classroom, looking over a teacher's shoulder."
They will not. Cameras are and will be installed in common areas including lobbies, hallways, cafeterias and stairways and basements.
Board member Terry Fielden has had remote access on his smartphone throughout the system's pilot phase and said such surveillance is necessary even if you hope to never use it.
"It's unfortunate you have to feel that way these days but it seems like almost every day on the news there's more reason why you need it," he said.
The software and server will be installed by the end of the month and all cameras will be installed and operational by the beginning of next school year.