Florence 1 Schools grant enhances safety across schools

Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 1:32 AM EST
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FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - Florence 1 School District leaders are now enhancing safety measures throughout schools.

In October, the district received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

After receiving the grant, school leaders and officers said it would make protecting schools a little easier.

“A goal every day is to keep children safe, get them to school safe through the day, send them home safe,” said Lieutenant John Crouse of the Florence County Sheriff’s Office

It’s a motto Crouse lives by.

He has been part of the School Resource Officer Program for about 12 years.

Crouse remembered a time technology hindered his job. He said it has come a long way.

“Pictures were grainy,” he said. “You couldn’t tell who people were. We identify hundreds of people off the cameras now. If there’s an incident at school we can identify who’s involved, I mean this is just about like standing there watching.”

There are currently about 1700 cameras both inside and outside of schools across the district.

The grant was awarded through the School Violence Prevention Program which will go towards upgrading surveillance with the latest and most up-to-date video management system throughout campuses.

These upgrades also include several different types of IP cameras with analytic capabilities, sensors, illuminator rings and all necessary power supplies and cabling.

Kyle Jones is the Chief Technology Officer of Florence 1 Schools. Jones said both Safety and Security are two main priorities.

“We want our community to know that we are committed to that,” said Jones. “We have recently expanded our weapons detection systems in all our high school and middle schools as well. A quality learning environment often comes from our students and teachers feeling safe and secure during the instructional day.”

As for Lieutenant Crouse, he said the new grant will not only enhance the quality learning environment but also make what he does daily that much easier.

“Anytime we can use a tool that multiplies our presence, and cameras do that, we can be in one location and watch several schools at once,” said Crouse. “That makes our job easier, makes it more efficient which makes it safer for kids.”

Florence 1 Schools are currently waiting for the shipment of the new technology.