At its final school board meeting of the year on June 26, the board of the West Sonoma County Union High School District awarded a $602,948 contract to Integrated Security Controls to install an extensive system of security cameras on all three district campuses.
The Santa Rosa firm will install 46 cameras at Analy, 40 at El Molino and 10 at Laguna, along with the software and analytics that will give administrators a closer look at what’s going on at their campuses.
“This goes along with the site safety plan in keeping our staff and students safer,” facilities manager Jennie Bruneman told the board. “The technology has improved incredibly over the last two years — you can see the difference and, boy, those pictures are pretty good … Compared with the cameras we had in the ’90s and early 2000s, I think these are really going to work.”
According to Bruneman, the new system will be a huge improvement over the current camera regime.
“Right now, we have two cameras at Laguna, 10 at Analy and eight at El Molino. If you look at the size and scale of our campuses, the current system just doesn’t provide an adequate level of security,” she said.
Also, Bruneman said, “Our old camera system was very difficult to use from a user perspective,” forcing administrators, usually the vice principals, to search through hours of footage to find the information they needed.
She said the administrators are excited about the capabilities of the new system.
“We’re getting 8-megapixel cameras, which is kind of the equivalent of what you have on your phones,” Bruneman said.
“It’s really the analytics software that’s really compelling and cool because you can have a screenshot of a student wearing a ball cap and red shirt, and the analytics will pick that person up throughout the rest of the campus. You won’t have to spend hours combing through the footage,” she said.
Integrated Security Controls was one of two companies vying for the contract. At the request of administrators, the companies set up test systems at each of the campuses, and administrators experimented with them for a week and a half. Bruneman said the teachers and administrators who tested the two systems unanimously chose the Avigilon system installed by Integrated Security Controls.
How is the high school district, which is in dire financial straits, paying for the new camera system? The funds are coming from Measure A, a $91 million facilities improvement bond, which was passed by west county voters in June 2018.
Bruneman said she was pleased to be awarding the contract to a local company.
“Integrated Security Controls is a Santa Rosa-based firm, located right down the road on Fulton. They’ll be a tried and true support system for us,” she said.
She estimates the cameras will have a life of about 10 years. They come with a three-year product/ installation/service warranty.
Bruneman said she has already walked all three sites with representatives from the company and administrators, deciding on where to site the cameras.
Because the contract was awarded so late in the year, she said the system probably won’t be fully installed before school starts, but should be complete by the end of September.
Board member Jeanne Fernandes thanked Bruneman for moving ahead with the new system.
“Thank you, Jennie, on behalf of our community ... School safety is in the forefront of our national news. This is something I and others have been asking for, even before I was on the board … and it’s so important,” Fernandes said.