The town of Raymond, which is using 19 monitoring cameras at the Jordan Small Middle School and Raymond Elementary School, is considering expanding the program to include other town-owned properties.

The installation of the cameras, which can be monitored live in a “command station” based in the modular classroom building near the Jordan Small Middle School, were paid for through a Homeland Security grant passed by the town last year. If the town can secure funding, officials say they would consider adding cameras to the town office and public safety building, too, which would be part of the same system.

According to Network Administrator Kevin Woodbrey, the live feed is recorded through a server located at the town office. The server cost $7,000, and the cameras cost about $15,000 for the cameras. The consol, conference table and storage units in the modular classroom building were donated by Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“The kids are vital to the community, and we want them to be safe,” said Norma Richard, principal of the two Raymond schools.

The offices in the schools are based in the center of the buildings, making it difficult for teachers and administrators to monitor who enters and leaves the building-especially adults that should not be there, according to Richard. The cameras offer school and town administrators a better view inside and outside of the buildings.

Richard also says that after telling the students the cameras were installed, their behavior has changed.

“In actuality, they have been behaving better,” she said, adding that the students were “pretty well-behaved” to begin with.

Kevin Woodbrey is in charge of maintaining and monitoring the system. In the modular classroom building, he can review up to two to three days of material recorded in and around the schools.

“The overall purpose of the cameras is to stop vandalism and help in prosecution,” he said.

Woodbrey said he only monitors what is recorded through the cameras when something needs to be referenced. With the click of a mouse, Woodbrey and police officials can reference the specific time and place of criminal activity.

Town Manager Don Willard said the town has the ability to add cameras for municipal use at the town office and Public Safety Building on Route 302.

“It’s a multi-functional system,” Willard said. “Most of the schools that benefited from this kind of thing went with stand-alone systems, but ours can be used for municipal needs. We were able to get more bang for our buck, so to speak, by incorporating the school and municipal (monitoring) systems, which are all centralized in the town’s server.”

Bruce Tupper, assistant chief of Raymond Fire/Rescue who helped the schools apply for the grant, said security is a big issue for the town and the cameras are a direct response to the threats of vandalism and terrorism.

“Schools are a high priority for Homeland Security. Over the past few years the schools have had bomb threats and vandalism. If there was a viable threat, we’d be able to monitor it,” he said.

Tupper said that if there were any terrorist attack on the rural town of Raymond, the schools would be the likely target. He gave the example of the Russian school that was attacked in 2004 by Chechen militants in the town of Beslan, resulting in the deaths of more than 331 people, half of them children.

“If someone wanted to cause trouble, they would use the schools,” Tupper said.

Although the town does have the option of adding cameras to the town office, public safety building and area parks, it lacks the funding, according to Willard.

“But it’s still great to have that functionality,” he said.

Network Administrator Kevin Woodbrey monitors a live feed from cameras installed in the Jordan Small Middle School and the Raymond Elementary School. Principal Norma Richard said that although the cameras were installed for security purposes, they have inevitably altered the childrenhe better.


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