Friday, April 28, 2006
Principal explains camera use at CCHS
Last month, the Concord resident who opposed surveillance cameras at the high school talked about his concerns at the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee (RSC) meeting. Principal Art Dulong, who was not present at that meeting, responded to those concerns at the April 11 RSC meeting, "I was very specific about where I wanted cameras to be placed. We had extraordinary theft. We tried a variety of different things, locked doors, put personnel into the area. There was over $10,000 worth of theft. With the cameras, we can see who doesn't belong there and question themThe only consistent vandalism was at the vending machine. I have no interest in using cameras except for what they are forParents knew about this. It was written in the newsletters. I have gotten no complaints from parents or students."
Who sees the tapes? Only Dulong and the Assistant Principals Jessica Truslow and Alan Weinstein see the images in a password-protected area on Weinstein's computer. Dulong said, "There is no reason for teachers, police or others to see itThe images are the property of the region [CCRSD]This is a personal record. Of course, all records can be subpoenaed." The cameras are fixed to the ceiling and do not rotate. A ladder is needed to move them. Dulong did not see a reason to keep the tapes for more than three months. "If there is a problem, we usually hear about it within 24 hours."
Dulong said, "We used to see five to six thefts a week. The cameras were installed over Christmas break. From then to mid-April we have seen 10 thefts total." He has reviewed the tapes about six times during that period. No thieves have been found.
There has also been no vandalism to the vending machine during this period. In the past, the machine has been broken into about five times a year.
Dulong said Concord is not the only town using surveillance cameras. "Acton-Boxboro has ten cameras that they have been using for eight to nine years. The administration meets with police once a week. Winchester has one to two cameras per school. Weston has just installed cameras."
© 2006 The