Delavan-Darien High School plans to install security cameras

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Catherine W. Idzerda
May 16, 2012

In the past three years, the number of fights and other serious incidents at Delavan-Darien High School have dropped significantly.

District officials hope those numbers will drop even more next fall after the installation of 32 security cameras.

Of those 32, three will be outside.

"It's really about safety for everybody in the building," Principal Mark Schmitt said.

Installing security cameras has been discussed, off and on, for a number of years, he said.

After the April school board election, Schmitt gave one of the new board members a tour of the school, and the issue was raised again.

That led to a tour with school police liaison officer Tom Reichert, Delavan Police Chief Timothy O'Neill and a representative of Security Equipment Supply of Milwaukee.

"We wanted to know where we would get the most impact from those 32 cameras," Schmitt said.

The high school's layout—such as the maze of long hallways that lead back to the technical education area—presents security challenges. Not many adults are in the area between classes to help reduce the number of serious incidents.

"Our teachers have been working hard to be in the halls during passing periods," Schmitt said.

In an email, Delavan-Darien Superintendent Wendy Overturf said cameras are "extremely useful for investigating incidents relating to persons as well as when investigating situations regarding facilities and vandalism."

High school staff will be reviewing incident reports, and that information also will be used to determine where the cameras should be located.

Will the cameras make a difference?

"At a school I worked at in Green Bay, we had a problem with thefts in the parking lot," Schmitt said. "We put up cameras and it stopped—literally overnight."

The school board has approved the $15,000 cost of the cameras, and the district's tech ed staff will perform the installation.

Unlike traditional video systems, district staff and police will be able to log in through a website to see camera activity.

Recordings will be kept for at least 72 hours, Schmitt said.

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