Laptop adds to security for
Photo by Hannah Bader Todd Murray (left)
and Adrian Watkins (center) of Telecommunications Service
present a laptop computer to Director of Carter County Schools
Dallas Williams this week. The laptop will be used to remotely
access video cameras throughout the school system, enhancing
security in the schools.
The Carter County School
System received a new security tool this week, as Adrian Watkins of
Telecommunications Service donated a laptop computer to assist in
monitoring the security cameras in the schools.
"It'll give us eyes into
the school if there is an emergency," said Watkins. "They're going
to work with the police departments -- Elizabethton City and Carter
County -- who will be able to view remotely from this laptop and be
able to dispatch to their officers. It'll be a tremendous benefit.
We've only done Carter County Schools, but we're in talks with some
of the other school systems about doing their security too.
"If we get the
hospitals, the jail and the local school system all in one network,
then the officers will be familiar with using the software. The
resource officers will have them on their laptops to be able to view
the smaller schools. They already have them in the high schools, but
they'll be able to view the elementary schools if they have an
"It gives them the
option of providing one security guard to watch all the schools at
night," said Todd Murray, network engineer for Telecommunications
Service. "In case they have a guard that has to leave the scene for
some reason, they can provide a backup. One of the biggest things
that we provide is connectivity between businesses. We offer point
to point VPN (virtual private network) solutions that provide voice,
video and data that can be shared across the Internet, which will
cut down on certain long distance and other charges you can incur in
"Say you had another
office in Knoxville," Murray continued. "I could connect the two
offices together so you could do four-digit dialing and four-digit
faxing. You could do televideo conferencing during the day. You
could have the laptop with the software running and use a USB
headphone and mike to communicate with a person on the other end of
the video camera system."
"We do business
telephone systems, computer networks and security camera systems,"
said Watkins. "We've done a couple of local hospitals and the
recycling plant. We're getting ready to do a project at the Carter
County Jail. We'll be redoing its security cameras. We're trying to
offer convergence solutions for everybody. We can give them an
all-in-one phone system, paging system, voicemail, security cameras
-- everything in one stop. The only thing we don't do is alarm
panels, like fire alarms."
Director of Carter
Schools Dallas Williams was pleased with the added security benefit
provided by the remote laptop.
"Our board has taken a
very proactive approach in providing safety and security for our
students," said Williams. "We're very thankful that our students'
welfare is a number one priority. With the times we are living in
and the threat of terrorism that we're facing these days, we feel
that this is going to provide a more advanced technology approach.
We'll have the ability to not only see what's going on inside the
buildings but to record what happens. That will be a very valuable
benefit to us.
"Hopefully, we will
never have a serious incident, but we feel more prepared if we do.
David Mitchell, who is the Governor's Homeland Security person in
the state, said that through their research, they've found that
schools are a target, and we feel that based on that information, we
need to do everything that we can to provide a safe, secure
environment for our students."
As this interview was
progressing, the STAR photographer on the scene was dispatched to
T.A. Dugger Junior High School due to a bomb threat, which
fortunately turned out to be a false alarm.
"Had that been a county
school, Mr. Williams and all the officials here would have been able
to use the software and see that the evacuation was proceeding
smoothly," said Murray. "If they needed to send extra resource
people there, the Sheriff's Department could have called over and
asked them to view it and see if they had seen anything.
"The cameras are set up
to record off motion detection, so it's quicker to do the searches.
You don't have to watch eight hours of video to find out what
happened in that eight-hour time period."
"During the night time,
if nobody's supposed to be entering this area we're looking for
somebody who's entered this doorway -- say they broke in to do a
vandalism -- and the camera would only record that person when they
came through the doorway, instead of recording all that time during
the evening," said Watkins.
Service has been in business in Elizabethton since 1983, providing
security and other business solutions.