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Washington County Beefing Up Security at Local Schools

Washington County budgets $279,000 to upgrade its cameras in schools.
HAGERSTOWN, Md. - School kicks off Wednesday for kids in Washington County, and while students will be walking down new hallways, updated security cameras will be rolling.

The Washington County Public School (WCPS) Board of Education just approved a $279,000 budget to update and maintain their security camera system this year; and that includes at least one camera at every school in the district.

"I think that the money could be better spent somewhere else, or as long as the cameras they have now are not preventing them from identifying any students or the faces," said Juanita Mueller, a concerned resident.

School safety officials say they're replacing their old analog cameras and also adding additional cameras to some schools.

"They're a lot clearer: you can see more detail in the picture; it's more like watching the TV instead of a fuzzy screen," said Steve Ganley, safety and security risk manager with WCPS.

School officials say these cameras help keep buildings secure at night, and give employees in the office a first-look at visitors as they buzz themselves in during the school day.

"It allows us to go back if there was a fight in the hallway, you could see who the perpetrator was," said Ganley.

Other recent safety changes include keeping all doors locked, and using a swipe card instead of a key to get inside.

"As far as keeping the children safe, the teachers are bent on teaching and it's difficult for them to pay attention to other safety issues. I think the cameras are an excellent idea," said Mueller.

In the meantime, WCPS say they're keeping their eyes to ground for new ways to keep students safe.
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