Chesterfield boosts security at elementary schools

By Melissa Correa - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Their eyes are now always watching. Chesterfield County just rolled out new technology that keeps watch on every single person wanting to enter elementary schools.

A call box with a camera is now outside all 38 Chesterfield elementary schools. It's the latest security technology that allows staff to see who's at the front door.

The sound similar to one in a video game now alerts school staff to people at the door.

"We find at some of our older schools, and we do have some older facilities, there's not a clear view from the front office," said school spokesman Shawn Smith.  He says the video call boxes were just installed at all elementary schools. Now doors stay locked until approval is given.

So the way it works, walk up to any one of the 38 Chesterfield elementary schools.  You will first press the buzzer. Your image will open up on a video screen placed inside the front office. Someone in the front office will ask you a few questions to identify yourself before deciding whether to let you in or not.

"I think it's great because that way we feel safe knowing they are protected," said parent Lisa Holt.  We catch up with her as she waits to be buzzed in at OB Gates Elementary. The process is much different from last year.

"You could actually just open the door and walk on in," said Holt.  "You could walk down the hallways if you wanted to because the office isn't right as you come in."

She now has to check in at the front office.

"So when you walk in the office you have to have your ID scanned," explained Holt.

Her information is checked against the national sex offender registry.

"We watch the news all the time and you have these crazy folks going into schools and with guns sometimes and just kidnapping kids," said Glenn Stocks.

He says security is very important, so he doesn't mind waiting in the rain.

"Sometimes security will inconvenience people for a short period of time," explained Stocks.

Chesterfield school employees create a security initiative team and each year they review the policies, checking to see if updates are needed.

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