Queens councilman to de Blasio: Invest in surveillance systems & ‘make school safety a priority’

Creative Commons photo by U.S. Airman Alaysia Berry

A Bayside-based lawmaker wants the city to commit to doubling funding for updated school surveillance systems.

Councilman Paul Vallone wants an additional $100 million investment toward installing Internet Protocol Digital Video Surveillance (IPDVS) systems in the city’s schools. The request was listed within the NYC Council’s response to the mayor’s preliminary budget for 2019.

The push was influenced in part by a recent incident at P.S. 184 in Whitestone, where a suspicious man reportedly entered the school during school hours.

The system enables school officials to view live and archived camera images directly on their computer stations. It also provides remote viewing capability to authorized city personnel.

Vallone, who represents areas of northeast Queens including Bayside, Flushing and Whitestone, said approximately one-third of the city’s schools are without the modern security system. Further, in District 19, 62 percent of schools do not have the system installed.

A large portion of the city’s $100 million in proposed funding would go toward upgrading existing systems, according to Vallone. The additional $100 million would be used primarily for installing new systems in schools without.

Vallone said he will continue advocating for the IPDVS funding until every school in the city is equipped with the system.

“We are about to enter the DOE’s next five-year capital plan and now is the time to clearly show our commitment to school safety and ensure it remains a top priority,” the councilman said. “In the greatest city on earth, it is completely inexcusable for a third of our schools, or more, to lack a modern camera system. I’m proud to stand with our students, parents, teachers, administrators and my colleagues in City Hall as we call on the mayor to make school safety a priority.”

In another call for increased school safety, Vallone joined local Assemblyman Edward Braunstein last month in a call on the city to allow school principals the discretion to lock doors during school hours. Currently, the DOE prohibits school principals from keeping the front door locked during the day.

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