Security camera system in need of an overhaul

Ronnie Estoque and Joyce Harrell

The security camera system at Cleveland High School is in need of some attention. The majority of the security cameras put in place to protect the students and staff do not work, and the ones that do are in need of a serious upgrade. SoED Vice President Dr. Eddie Reed, who is also head of security, is well aware of the issue at hand.

“Our security camera situation was not the best developed when the facility was built,” he said.

In April 2013, Silas Potter Jr., the former head of a Seattle Public Schools small-business program, pleaded guilty to 36 counts of theft for embezzling money from the district. Potter oversaw the work and payment of contractors that installed the faulty security camera system at Cleveland.

Several of the issues Cleveland has been facing over the school year – such as phone thefts and widespread vandalism around the campus – may have been solved had there been an adequate security system in place. Compared to other Seattle Public Schools security camera systems, Cleveland is significantly inferior.

“If you had to rate it from zero to 10, I would rate it at a 0.5,” Reed said. According to him, Cleveland has been going through the process of planning the upgrade of security cameras for a long time.

“When it comes to making any changes to a public facility, it is an extensive protocol of about two years to bring that change about,” Reed said.

This summer, Cleveland will be installing a new security camera system that will cover every area of the school.

“There will be cameras in the gym, both parking lots, outside areas where the buses are and all over this campus, so the students that are stealing will not be able to hide anymore,” said head security guard Don Tuggle.

Reed knows that the addition of security cameras will greatly increase the ability of administrators to resolve some outstanding issues, but it will not stop all of the infractions. He said that students have to be diligent and responsible for their valuables. Still, having a functioning camera system in place will be a bonus.

“We will have a very profound developed security system beginning next year,” Reed said.