Smithfield school camera system needs immediate upgrade

Smithfield school camera system needs immediate upgrade

SMITHFIELD – The Smithfield School Department’s Emergency Operations Team is suggesting that immediate upgrades be made to Smithfield High School’s camera system.

Supt. Judy Paolucci said during Monday’s School Committee meeting that the team maintains focus on the most important safety concerns in the school, and prioritizing safety efforts. An important aspect to newer systems is the ability for police to remotely access the camera system, which they are not currently able to do.

“If you look at that in the assistant principal’s office you can see the different cameras, it’s very difficult to discern what’s happening because the cameras are old and really need to be replaced,” she said.

Paolucci said she plans to evaluate the 2018 budget to determine if funds are available to upgrade the cameras this spring. Money for the cameras could be pulled from an account with extra money in it. For example, funds had already been set aside for a special education tuition, and Paolucci discovered that district was not responsible to pay.

“That’s one thing that we’d like to do earlier rather than later,” she said.

Paolucci said she plans to bring budget transfers to the next meeting or the one following to be able to make way for the upgrades.

“We’re doing the research now, and what it would do is allow the Police Department in times of emergency (to) directly monitor and just pull up those cameras,” she said.

Councilor Cheryl Hirst-Hodgins said she supported the plan, and believed the Town Council would back the plan as well.

Later in the evening, the Committee decided to ask the Basketball Courts Subcommittee if the courts could be moved farther away from the front of Anna McCabe Elementary School.

Committee Chair Sean Clough said a discussion at the Feb. 20 Town Council meeting brought up question regarding the courts’ location, and the possibility of moving them to the back of the High School by the baseball fields.

But, Paolucci said plans to move the courts near the baseball field would costs approximately a $250,000, and the Subcommittee decided against the idea. The process to replace the fields has already begun with the removal of the old courts.

Both committee member Virginia Harnois and Rose Marie Cipriano suggested the basketball courts be moved 20 to 30 feet to the side, out of the line of sight of the elementary school.

“It really looks good with nothing in front of the school, first and foremost,” Cipriano said.

Harnois said putting the courts in front of McCabe encroaches upon the visual of the school, and could cause safety issues if the buildings were out of sight from the road.

Cipriano agreed, and said the blockages gives her concern from a safety standpoint, and moving it to the side makes more sense to her.

“I can attend the next meeting and find out what options exist,” Paolucci said.