Pembroke Pines has final approval from city commissioners to overhaul and upgrade security cameras at its charter schools.
The two K-8 schools, two K-5 schools and the middle school Academic Village will have more than 100 analog surveillance cameras replaced by digital cameras and more than 180 new digital cameras added.
That means 40 percent more of the school grounds will be under surveillance.
Brian Ballou has been reporting on this issue for the Sun Sentinel. He said Pembroke Pines wants to include the schools’ safety in a new police station that’s in the works.
“When they build the new police station, which is at least two years away, have a viewing at the police station of feeds from the cameras at the schools,” Ballou said.
Eventually, the city’s plan for the police station could even include monitoring surveillance footage from other government buildings too.
While most cities do not run charter schools, all five charter schools in Pembroke Pines are under the city’s control.
Yet, Ballou said, with all the surveillance upgrades, the schools won’t have anyone monitoring the cameras on a daily basis. He’s not worried about a Big Brother scenario.
“The city is looking to just upgrade its whole surveillance technology,” he said. “The city isn’t looking to basically look over everybody’s shoulder, but it’s just a security measure.”
The $1.2 million camera changes are being mostly funded by tax dollars in a technology fund, though, Ballou said some will come from the one cent tax the county passed.