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Riverside-Brookfield High School will spend just over $140,000 to purchase a new security camera system this year. The District 208 school board voted 6-0 to approve the purchase at its Aug. 9 meeting.

“Our current system is very out of date,” said Assistant Superintendent Kristin Smetana, adding that the existing system is an analog system that runs on Windows 7, an operating system that is no longer supported. It is also very difficult to get spare parts if something breaks.

The new system, which the district is purchasing from Chicago-based Skynet Security, is cloud based, which means that video can be viewed from anywhere there is an internet connection. Administrators can even check out live camera video from their homes.

All of the school’s 64 cameras will be replaced. Most of the current cameras have been in service for more than seven years and some for more than 15 years.

Skynet Security provided the lowest of three price quotes that Smetana received. The contract was not formally put out to bid. RBHS has used Skynet before and has been happy with the products and service that the company has provided.

“Not only do they have the lowest price, but they are a trusted vendor that the district has used over the past 10 years for various projects,” Smetana wrote in a memo to the school board recommending the purchase.

In addition, Riverside Township in May awarded a grant of $7,381.49 to RBHS for the purchase of two additional hallway cameras to eliminate blind spots in the camera coverage, a television with a desk mount for the security office where personnel can view the video and a portable vape detector to be used in a school bathroom. 

In his appearance before the Riverside Township board in May, Assistant Principal for Student Affairs Dave Mannon told the township board that the vape detector can do more than just detect vaping.

“It’s much more than that,” Mannon said. “It’s a cloud-based application so it does detect a change in the environment. We’re going to utilize it in one of our bathrooms, and then with that change in environment it does detect noise level and things like that.”

Since the vape detector is portable, it can be moved among the bathrooms at RBHS. Mannon said that he wants to see how the vape detector works before the school commits to purchasing more of them.

Mannon said reports of students vaping in bathrooms was down at RBHS last year.

“The vapes have been down this year, and a little bit last year as we transitioned back, so that’s a great thing but we do see a little bit of it,” Mannon said. “I wouldn’t say we’re at an alarming rate at all, but it’s a deterrent. Some of these applications just make our environment more of a safe place for our kids.”