Talks of hiring resource officer put on hold

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Krum ISD upgrades security features to ensure student safety

KRUM — The Krum school district is putting discussion of hiring a school resource officer on hold because of cost considerations, Superintendent Cody Carroll told board members last week.

“We were looking at an expense of around $50,000,” he said. “Since it wasn’t built into the budget this year, we’re looking at the possibility of adding one in the future.

“At this time, we just felt it wasn’t financially feasible.”

This is the second time in five years that district officials have halted discussion of hiring a school resource officer after learning it wasn’t feasible. In 2006, plans to hire a school resource officer fell through after officials learned grant money from the U.S. Department of Justice that the district and Krum Police Department intended to use to fund the position was no longer available.

With modifications to district security in the works, Carroll said he’s confident the district has what it needs to ensure student safety.

Over the summer, the district began upgrading its security features. The upgrades along with a new bell and public announcement system at the high school cost the district about $65,000, Carroll said.

In recent weeks, surveillance cameras have been added to all five schools in Krum. Previously, cameras were only installed at the high school and middle school.

Mark Sprague, the district’s technology director, said the cameras are all Internet Protocol (IP)-based, include full-motion detection, have a three-week video storage capacity and are active 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Sprague said that he, school principals and the superintendent can access the cameras at any point to see what’s taking place at a district facility in real time.

Also being added at Krum schools are buzz-in systems for entry access. At the entrance of each school is a camera system which is activated when visitors press an intercom button on the camera’s panel. Staff in the school’s front office can monitor front entrances and view and speak with guests electronically. Staff can verify a guests’ identity before deciding whether to grant them access to the school. The sessions between staff and visitor are recorded, officials said last week.

The electronic devices used in the system are portable, allowing staff to monitor the school’s front entrances from anywhere in a particular school, Sprague said.

Throughout the day, all outside school doors in Krum are locked but are unlocked for brief periods of time, and at those times, school staff member monitor the school doorways and hallways, Carroll said.

Sprague made a presentation on the new security features at last week’s school board meeting and attempted to access a surveillance camera directed toward the pick-up lane at Dyer Elementary School to show board members and meeting attendees the system at work in real time.

Carroll shared security upgrade specifics with the community at large in the district’s first video blog segment, which began airing on the district website last month.

He said the new features allow the district the opportunity to identify people before they have access to a district facility and allow the district to ensure that students are “as safe as possible.”

“With the new buzz-in system, we feel we’ll be better able to identify people coming into the building,” Carroll said. “Being able to keep the doors locked at all times will keep the buildings secure throughout the day.”

He said he’s hopeful security upgrades will be completed by the end of this week.

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.


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