- Associated Press - Friday, August 14, 2015

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) - Tupelo schools plan to increase school safety through the construction of a district security command center at the Fillmore Center.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1LaSJqJ) the command center will act as a central location for all security camera footage from each campus to be funneled into and monitored by a security officer during school hours.

An officer likely will be stationed in the command center from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on school days and then brought in when campuses have events, such as basketball or football games, where larger crowds are at the schools.

Additional security cameras were installed on each campus this summer, along with security film on entrance windows, as part of phase one of the district’s bond projects.

The district’s executive director of operations, Andy Cantrell, said safety and security appeared to be a primary concern of those surveyed on the $44 million bond issue.

“In our bond issue surveys, the security cameras had some of the most positive feedback from parents and the community,” Cantrell said. “Security cameras serve as just one resource. By adding a command center, we will be able to help maximize their potential by having someone monitor the cameras. This will be helpful during the school day, as well as when we have large crowds.”

The command center will feature four 42” commercial-grade LED monitors on wall mounts, three Dell workstations and two 19” Dell monitors.

“The overall goal is to provide another layer of safety for all of our campuses,” Cantrell said.

The board and district officials, along with JBHM architects, decided the best place for the building would be at the Fillmore Center.

This in part is because there are currently three school security officers at Fillmore, so a new position would not have to be created to bring someone in to monitor the command center.

District director of security Terry Hatch said the command center has become necessary for the district to effectively monitor the many cameras now installed across the schools.

Hatch said he is not worried about pulling an officer off of hallway duty to monitor the command center because the cameras provide increased security.

Hatch said if the need arose, a part-time officer could be hired to help with the command center.

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Information from: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, http://djournal.com

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