Atlanta Mayor to expand surveillance network to public schools

Reed: APD surveillance network may soon include city’s public schools

Posted by Max Blau @maxblau on Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 4:46 PM

In addition to the citys streets, the VICs surveillance network could also include Atlanta Public Schools.

  • In addition to the city’s streets, the VIC’s surveillance network could also include Atlanta Public Schools.

In the wake of last week’s shooting at Price Middle School, Mayor Kasim Reed has announced a plan to link Atlanta Public Schools security cameras into the police department’s massive surveillance network.Reed appeared on MSNBC earlier today to speak in support of President Barack Obama’s anti-firearm campaign. When asked about the shooting, the mayor replied:

I also have made the proposal to link every single school in the city of Atlanta into our video integration system at police headquarters so that we can have eyes in our schools. And in the event there is a tragedy, it will allow us to deploy our police to the campus much faster, and it will give us eyes on the ground…

APS cameras are currently not integrated into the Loudermilk Video Integration Center, a downtown complex that serves as the Atlanta Police’s expansive surveillance hub. The facility, often referred to as the VIC, is expected to have access to more than 10,000 cameras in the coming years.

“We believe the VIC will grow exponentially in the coming years, with both public and private-sector cameras,” APD spokesman Carlos Campos tells CL. “Having access to cameras inside schools will help us immensely with responding to crises involving our schoolchildren.”

In a recent APS board meeting, Superintendent Erroll Davis said that the city’s school system is thinking about forming its own police force. At the moment, 55 full-time and 233 part-time APD officers are providing security at the district’s middle and high schools.

If the switch were to occur, says Campos, the APD would treat the relationship similar to other public-private partnerships that it currently maintains with organizations such the CNN Center, the Georgia World Congress Center, or potentially even MARTA down the road. For the time being, however, APD is assessing the school system’s surveillance network to see if the integration can in fact take place.