Jackson Police Want Access To School Security Cameras

A security camera outside Switlik Elementary School. (Photo by Jennifer Peacock)

JACKSON – The Jackson Township Police will soon have direct access to school district cameras, but only in emergencies.

School Superintendent Stephen Genco said the arrangement is an extension of the district’s current policy with the Jackson Police Department, which is spelled out in a memorandum of agreement renewed each year.

Genco said that, currently, video recordings taken in various locations in the district’s 10 schools – six elementary, two middle and two high schools – are archived for an established period of time, and are accessible only by the district’s director of security and building administrators. Should a situation arise where the police need to see footage as part of an investigation, it is done with the superintendent’s permission and under district supervision.

Superintendent of schools Stephen Genco wants the Jackson Township Police to have access to the school’s surveillance cameras, but only in certain circumstances. (Photo by Jennifer Peacock)

School officials told The Jackson Times that video archives are accessible by only a few select administrators and other staff. The archives record who accesses a video and when, so while it’s unlikely anyone will access the archives anyway, there’s no way to access it without others knowing.

The new arrangement Genco discussed at the board of education meeting on February 14 goes a step further. This new arrangement would install the viewing software in the police department so it could be used only when necessary during an emergency. There are no additional cameras being installed for this endeavor and there is no additional cost to the district.

The district declined to say how many cameras are in each school and where those cameras are located, although many are clearly visible on the outside of district buildings.

“Day to day, nothing will change,” Genco said.” What this does is set us up so that if we ever need the police department to view our cameras during an emergency, they can do that.”

Genco said this is another example of the schools and police working together to keep students safe.

“We have a very good relationship with the Jackson Police Department,” he said. “We see this as just another way we can help them respond in an emergency, when every second counts.”