Police officer raised cash to pay for CCTV at John Gray
A network of CCTV cameras has been installed at John Gray High School to help police officers and teachers clamp down on bullying, violence and vandalism.
The initiative has been spearheaded by police constable Eddie Tinling-Miller, who raised some $25,000 from donors to pay for the cameras. He has been stationed as the community officer at the school for the past year and a half.
The Security Centre, which contributed to the cost along with the Rotary Clubs of Grand Cayman, fitted the surveillance equipment, which has been in operation for the past four weeks. The company said the cameras – strategically positioned to monitor the public spaces where students congregate between lessons – would help deal with concerns about fights at the school, including what are described as “gang wars.”
Behavior at Cayman’s high schools, particularly John Gray, has been a concern for some time. A consultant’s report from late 2012, released last week, warned that school staff were “firefighting” as a small minority of students influenced by “criminal intent and drug abuse” caused havoc.
According to the Security Centre, the cameras will act as a deterrent to the worst offenders and help catch culprits when incidents occur.
They can also be used to identify and enforce lower level infractions and help the school better manage student behavior. The cameras could also be used to “provide clarity” when incidents occur and reassure parents that suspensions or other punishments were justifiable, according to a press release from The Security Centre.
It adds, “Every summer, equipment was stolen from the school property; cameras are expected to reduce the future occurrence of theft. Staff vehicles were being damaged on a regular basis, moving forward, the cameras should act as deterrents and offer reassurance for school staff.”
Mick Booker, technical sales manager at the company, said Constable Tinling-Miller had been the driving force behind the idea – going out into the community to secure funding, which was not available through the school budget.
The Rotary clubs provided the bulk of the funding and The Security Centre installed the equipment at a reduced rate.
“The installation of the cameras was completed and they have been in operation for the last few weeks of the current term. They are in the external areas of the school, where the kids go at break time,” Mr. Booker said.
Student behavior, including fights and even an assault on a teacher, have been highlighted as an issue for the school in recent months. Violent behavior by pupils was also highlighted as a key concern of teachers leaving the school system in transcripts of exit interviews conducted with the Department of Education Services.