WCPSS shares new security upgrades ahead of new school year

Elaina Athans Image
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

WAKE COUNTY, NC (WTVD) -- Every school in Wake County has security cameras and an entry buzzer system in place for the start of the new school year.

Officials have spent the last year upgrading the security infrastructure.

The work has cost around $8 million.

"It's tremendously important," said Apex Friendship High School Principal Matt Wight.

The equipment serves as the first line of defense against someone who wants to wreck havoc.

"The best deterrent is to see the person and be able to slow them down," said WCPSS Facilities Senior Administrator Eric Allen. "That extra few minutes, extra few seconds of slowing the person down can help the school lockdown and bring a safer escape route for the kids."

School Resources Officers are also gearing up for the first day of school. About 50 SROs came together for a summit.

"This summit is critical," said Garner Police Chief Brandon Zuidema. "It makes sure that we are generally on the same page as far as what this working relationship is because we come from similar, but not the same perspective. The education world is a little bit different than the law enforcement world."

WCPSS new Superintendent Cathy Moore addressed the crowd of law enforcement and school administrators.

"Clearly, relationships must be strong and build among each other in a positive way," said Moore.

The district said there's at least one SRO in all middle and high schools. Threat assessments are also conducted regularly on every campus.

The work is being done to prevent a mass shooting tragedy, like the ones we have seen in other parts of the country.

District officials are encouraging parents and guardians to be proactive. They suggest monitoring your child's social media accounts and looking for changes in their behavior, personality, and peer groups.

"The cameras and the access control, that's not a magic pill that's going to make our school safer. It's always incumbent upon us to have the support of not only the community but our students and our staff. As soon as they hear or see something, to let us know that we can address it," said WCPSS Security Director Russ Smith.

The district has set up a security tip line.

The number is 919-856-1911 and the line is staffed 24-hours a day.