Camera Upgrade Sought for School District Buses

About half of the buses operated by the School Board of Highlands County in Sebring, Fla., have security camera systems that use video cassette recorders.

SEBRING, Fla. – The transportation director of the School Board of Highlands County, located here, wants to replace VHS tape recording equipment on the county’s school buses. 

When the 2014-15 school year starts next week, outdated video surveillance technology will be in use every school day on about half of the school district’s buses, according to Highlands Today. Transportation Director David Solomon realizes that and wants to get rid of the old cameras.

“We want to get rid of those old VHS cameras; that’s our project this year,” he told the newspaper. “We know we won’t be able to get rid of all of them, but at least on our ‘route buses’ we would like to get rid of those old cameras.”

Solomon said the district needs about 50 digital cameras. Currently, the district has 51 digital cameras and 101 routes, he said.

The district purchased about 15 digital cameras last year and they will try to buy 18 this year and get them installed in buses, Solomon said.

The district has 10 older buses, from 1996-1998, which are used infrequently for back-up purposes and don’t have any security cameras, he said. When digital cameras are installed in the route buses, the VHS tape video cameras that are removed will be installed in these back-up buses.

The newspaper asked Solomon if there been any times when the bus cameras have helped the school district review an incident.

“We have had a couple of incidents where we have pulled the cameras and the tapes were all chewed up, you know, the old VHS tapes,” Solomon said. “That’s the reason why we are replacing them; they aren’t reliable anymore.”

It’s not only difficult to get tapes for the VHS cameras but the heat and the old cameras chew up the tapes, he added. “We kind of lose our credibility when stuff like that happens.”

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