MUNCIE, Ind. – Having eyes and ears inside a school during an emergency situation can benefit police and other first responders. That's why leaders with Muncie Community Schools have given access to their school cameras over to dispatchers.
The school district has close to 200 cameras combined in its 10 school buildings. Dispatchers at the Delaware County Emergency Operations Center can already view the cameras from their office.
"It will shorten response time," said Muncie Community Schools board president, Jim Williams. "Any time you have the visual component in the 911 center that can be activated and transferred to audio as well, you immediately have a quicker response time. The other thing it clearly provides is an added element of intelligence for the officers that are responding. If dispatch is reporting to responding officers the particulars of what they’re able to visualize that not only aids in the response in the student and teacher safety but also helps those first responders plan in a way that is most efficient."
Dispatchers are still training on the camera network, and want to better lay out where each camera is in a school and the direction each camera is facing.
The school district employs 25 school resource officers, according to Williams. The SROs and administrators will still have access to the cameras, too.
"We would only use that in any time one of our officers is responding to a possible intruder or a very important call for service," said daytime shift supervisor at the 911 center, Cory Gunter.
Schools leaders and dispatchers said they hope the system will never need to be used once the training is complete.
"You always train for your worst day and you hope you never have to use it," Williams said.