HomeCity NewsSan Marino School District to Replace Security Camera System

San Marino School District to Replace Security Camera System

The San Marino Unified School District Board of Education passed a motion last week to upgrade its outdated security camera system to the cloud-based platform Verkada by approving the U.S. Department of Justice’s School Violence Prevention Program grant to fund the project, and awarding NIC Partners to install the new camera equipment.

At the Jan. 23 meeting, SMUSD Chief Technology Officer Stephen Choi outlined how the project will function, including the cost breakdown of the $405,872 grant award. The grant was made available under the DOJ’s Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, and its School Violence Prevention Program.

Choi said the initial phase, costing $411,086, will replace each existing camera at SMUSD. The grant will fund $308,315 — 75% of the amount. The district will cover the remaining balance, $102,772 — the 25% “local match.”

After the initial phase, $97,577 of additional grant funds is intended to be used in the future to expand camera coverage in necessary areas around SMUSD campuses.

Verkada cameras, in comparison to SMUSD’s current system equipment, will provide benefits that the outdated system cannot, Choi said. Since Verkada cameras use the cloud, the system is a reliable network that is accessible to multiple people at the same time.

“One of the challenges our current system has is that only a limited number of staff can actually use it at the same time before it slows down or crashes,” Choi said. “Verkada’s platform resides in the cloud to allow many more concurrent connections.”

The new camera system is the same one the San Marino Police Department uses for its own security needs.

“Verkada’s multisensor camera essentially provides four cameras within one so that we can see more,” said Choi, adding that the cameras have built-in video analytics that can detect objects, such as people and vehicles of interest, as well as work in tandem with ZeroEyes, AI gun detection. The cloud-based system can then share the information, so that SMUSD may more effectively collaborate with police or other safety partners.

An added benefit of moving forward with this brand of security is that SMPD is already familiar with Verkada, which will simplify training between the two agencies.

Similarly, Choi was just as confident in the decision to choose NIC Partners to install the cameras.

“Our collaboration with NIC Partners is crucial to the success of this endeavor,” Choi said. “NIC Partner’s expertise ensures a seamless interaction process guaranteeing the Verkada camera project aligns with our vision for a safer educational environment.”

First published in the Feb. 8 issue of the San Marino Tribune


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