Glenbrook H.S. security cameras made available to first responders

“By Deborah Ziff, Special to the Tribune5:00 p.m. CST, January 19, 2014

Live video from Glenbrook South High School’s surveillance cameras will be available to Glenview police officers, firefighters and paramedics during emergency situations under an agreement approved Jan. 13 by the Glenbrook District 225 school board.

The Glenview village board likely will need to adopt the agreement as well, said village spokeswoman Lynne Stiefel. She said she did not know when that would happen.

The agreement gives standing authorization to village officials to use the cameras during emergencies. A written explanation must be given to the superintendent within 24 hours of activating the system.

School Superintendent Mike Riggle said the cameras can be used only for training and emergency situations – not for police investigations.

“We’re not simply allowing people to gain access to the camera at any time for any purpose,” he said.

Village officials will have the sole discretion to determine when the surveillance system will be of benefit to first responders. An emergency is “any situation that poses an imminent threat” to students, staff or occupants of a District 225 facility, according to the document. That includes, but is not limited to, hostage-taking, fire, terrorism, threatened or actual use of firearms or health-related emergencies, according to the agreement.

“Whenever we have a situation that might arise in a school, that’s a safety concern. We want to take a look at what resources we have that might be available for first responders,” Riggle said.

The agreement also allows for first responders to have access to cameras at Glenbrook Off Campus and Glenbrook Evening High School, 1835 Landwehr Road. The District 225 office, 3801 W. Lake Ave., does not have cameras in the building, but village officials would have access there if the district adds them, according to Riggle.

Village of Northbrook officials have expressed interest in creating a similar agreement for Glenbrook North High School, Riggle said, but the school board would need to take separate action on that.

Glenbrook South High School has had cameras installed in public areas – entryways, hallways and cafeterias – for the past five years. They are not in bathrooms or classrooms, Riggle said. The cameras are operated under a passive surveillance system, which means they run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but are not monitored. Instead, school officials use them to look at situations after the fact.

Riggle said the district and the village needed to make technical changes to allow village officials to access live footage.

The village of Glenview plans to develop policies and procedures to operate the system based on the memorandum of understanding, according to a statement by Police Chief William Fitzpatrick.

“Anything that enhances the safety of students and staff has been worth the effort,” he said in the statement. | Twitter: @TribLocal

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