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Candid cameras are not a joke for city's schools

November 26, 2005|By By Lauren Hilgers

"Let's say you have it facing a hallway and you want to know when someone goes in and out of a door," Steele said. "You can tell the computer to show you only times when that door is open."

In the past, Steele said, monitors were forced to review hours of tape for a split-second occurrence.

Although the wires are not in place, conduits were included in the construction of both schools. Once cameras are acquired, wires need only be strung through.

"It's like having pipes with no water," Steele said.

He estimates that each school will need 40 cameras to adequately cover the campus and has taken bids that place the cost of purchase and installation from $50,000 to $150,000.

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Steele has been actively fundraising for the cameras at Burroughs High School and hopes to work with the district to secure the funds this school year. Osgood, however, has put the cameras on the back burner. He considers it primarily the district's responsibility to come up with the funds.

"Cameras could be effective," Osgood said, "but they're not my No. 1 priority in terms of safety."

Marissa Gehley-Rossoff, coordinator of the School Safety and OutReach Center, considers the cameras well worth the expense.

"It's been shown that students feel safe when they know that there really are eyes that are helping them stay safe all over the school," she said. "The quicker we can get them activated the better."

QUESTION

Do you think security cameras at the high schools would be a valuable tool? E-mail your responses to burbankleader @latimes.com; mail them to the Burbank Leader, 111 W. Wilson Ave., Glendale, CA 91203. Please spell your name and include your address and phone number for verification purposes only.

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