Cameras have been installed at CCHS to improve the safety of students and staff

Photo Credit: KEVIN SPERL - A new camera waits to be activated in the lobby of Crook County High School.

Walking into the office at Crook County High School last Tuesday, a “Welcome Back” sign greets visitors.

School may not start until Sept. 2 for incoming freshman but the administration is fully engaged, preparing for the 2014-15 academic year.

Michelle Jonas, principal at the high school, continues to ensure that the entire staff is ready to pay attention to the usual academic objectives, but the safety and security of her students is important as well.

Coming this fall, there will be security cameras mounted both inside the building and out, giving staff a view of the entire property.

“We actually started installing security cameras before school got out this past year,” said Jonas, “We had some inside, but none on the outside.”

For the fall, Jonas said that the number of cameras inside has been increased so that all hallways are covered. Cameras were also placed outside to help prevent vandalism and incidents from happening in the parking lot.”

With only a few cameras in prior years, Jonas said that things always seemed to occur where there wasn’t a camera.

“We are happy to have cameras for the parking lots now,” she explained. “It will be nice to be able to pull up a video to see what really happens out there.”

High school staff will not be the only ones watching. School Resource Officer Jeff Coffman will have monitors in his office, and a live feed of the cameras will be available to the police department as well.

“All of the cameras are web-based and can be viewed from the internet or via an app on our smart phones,” said Jonas, adding that the cameras are high resolution, enabling staff to zoom in on an image for better information.

Jonas has also instituted a new traffic pattern, reconfigured the parking lot and added signage and painted road arrows to minimize the potential for students being struck by a vehicle.

The district has plans for the future that they hope provides for even better security.

In the fall of 2015, the high school will reconfigure the main entrance vestibule, redirecting traffic through the main office during school class hours.

“The interior doors of the main entrance will be locked, and anyone entering the building will be redirected through a new doorway into the main office,” said Jonas.

Once classes are under way for the day, all alternate access points for the building will be secured, including the back of the building where the buses arrive.

For Jonas, adding security measures for better student safety must always be balanced with maintaining a positive atmosphere of learning.

“Our main goal here continues to be producing career and college ready students,” she said.

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