Buena Vista schools unveil new high-tech security system

The Verkada system was installed at Parry McCluer High School

BUENA VISTA, Va. – The “next level of security.”

From vape detection to license plate recognition, the high-tech Verkada system now installed at Parry McCluer High School addresses a range of potential threats and concerns and will streamline communication with police in the event of a crisis.

In a day and time when school threats are a real concern for parents and teachers, schools like Parry McCluer are turning to high-tech equipping its campus with 60 digital eyes that can do more than just record.

“It was quite impressive. It could do things that we have never really thought about,” Buena Vista Schools Superintendent Tony Francis said.

Like sensors that detect vaping, motion-activated cameras, and software that uses facial recognition to alert police when someone not allowed to be on campus shows up.

Francis said the Verkada system not only captures video but it also allows school leaders to send those images and locations directly to the police.

“It’s a situation that occurs we would be able to in seconds get them access to it just by a push of a button,” he said.

“We have a floorplan here and you can pull up any camera here and in a matter of seconds see whatever you want to see,” school resource officer Morgan Henderson said.

Dozens of surveillance screens are now at Henderson’s fingertips.

“It’s very impressive. We have capabilities to find what we need in a matter of seconds...whether it be a person or vehicle,” Henderson said.

License plate recognition can monitor plates in real-time.

The system can quickly comb through video to search for an intruder.

It can even pinpoint them in a matter of seconds, just by the color they are wearing.

“It also has the ability that if we are looking for a student and let’s say we know they have a red shirt on, we can go in and put on parameters that filter on and it will pull up every image of anyone in a red shirt,” Francis said.

Francis said the system allows them to focus on preventing a crisis and get help quickly in a situation where seconds matter.

About the Authors

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.

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