A total of 130 security cameras are now fully operational in the Franklin Regional School District, a security plan that, administrators point out, was made well before December's tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
The cameras are stationed throughout the district's three elementary schools, middle school, and senior high school, with the police department able to view real-time, streaming video, as well as the schools' floor plans.
A $100,000 federal grant for the cameras was obtained in 2009. The system started early this month.
The police department can view the cameras from their office, from central command, or even their cruisers, superintendent P. Emery D'Arcangelo said. "If there was a need to attend to an incident, they would have the capability of looking out from the laptop in their cruiser to identify the problem."
Monitors were in place before the camera installation, along with a central security center, Mr. D'Arcangelo said.
"We were able to record things like vandalism or a problem," he said. "A few years after that, we were approached by the mayor if we were willing to partner with them [at] no cost to the district."
For the last 10 years, the Murrysville police department has provided a school resource officer to patrol the district's schools.
"The fact we have a [school resource officer] has been received very well," Mr. D'Arcangelo said. "Since the Sandy Hook incident, our police department has been very visible, and part of their daily routine is to be visible on campus at various times throughout the day.
"We met with police Chief Tom Seefeld right after the incident in Connecticut, and he said from here on out, it's a normal protocol and procedure to have police visible on our campuses," Mr. D'Arcangelo said.
"It's important to take steps to deter problems from happening. You have drills that you run and try to put things in place ... you just hope and pray nothing like that ever happens."
On Dec. 14, Adam Lanza, 20, fatally shot 20 children and six adult staff members in a mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the village of Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn. Before driving to the school, Lanza shot and killed his mother at their Newtown home. He then committed suicide.
The incident is the second-deadliest shooting in American history, after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. It is the second deadliest mass murder at an American elementary school, after the 1927 Bath School bombings in Michigan.
David Gehlke, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.