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911 center can now access 1,200 school cameras during emergencies

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IDAHO FALLS — Police dispatchers now have access to Bonneville Joint School District 93’s 1,200 cameras and it could be a game changer in emergencies.

The district has the cameras covering the interior and exterior of their schools. The Bonneville County 911 Dispatch Center can now access every one of those cameras in case of emergencies giving law enforcement and first responders real-time information.

“The idea is – information to first responders to get there with the best information and the best safety,” Bonneville County Sheriff Paul Wilde said during a news conference Wednesday. “If something’s happening in a school, we know how to approach it, where to get to it, which direction to come from — all of those pieces.”

The 911 center has access to the cameras through a secure fiber optic internet line, making the center the only facility outside of the school district with access. The system is only to be used during emergencies when dispatchers can monitor what’s happening live. Recording the camera feed is not permitted.

“This is if we have a situation that’s occurring in a school that is related to life safety. They can instantly view that and give real-time information to the responding units,” Bonneville County Sheriff’s Caption Sam Hulse said.

District 93 camera and software technician Andrew Bodily said all of the high schools have at least two pan-tilt-zoom cameras.

“You can actually functionally move these cameras around to get a better overview of what’s going on,” Bodily said.

When the 911 center receives a call, they can pull up a blueprint of the school marked with each camera’s location. They then have to click on the camera in the section of the school they want to see, and a live feed appears. They can access multiple cameras at the same time.

“We could be looking at the camera and see the officers pull up and say ‘Do not go in that door’ or ‘That’s where your suspect is at,'” Bonneville County 911 Center Communication Director Andi Anderson said. “I think it’s going to be a huge resource for us.”

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