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Highly accessible camera system keeps Upper St. Clair School District secure

DES has a longstanding and ongoing relationship with the Upper St. Clair School District and today is their preferred integrator of security and surveillance.
Oct 30, 2017

UPPER ST. CLAIR TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Dagostino Electronic Services (DES) began working with the Upper St. Clair School District in the South Hills of Pittsburgh several years ago and today is their preferred security and surveillance system integrator.

Upper St. Clair’s security system is vast and continues to grow.

Paul Jaglowski is the network systems specialist. When he started at the district 12 years ago, the security system was minimal with cameras only at Upper St. Clair High School.

Today’s network consists of approximately 240 interior and exterior cameras installed across the district’s three elementary schools, two middle schools, high school and administrative buildings. Exterior locations like parking lots and sports fields are also included in the coverage.

As the need for new cameras arises or as older cameras need to be replaced, DES consults with district leaders and designs and installs a solution that makes sense.

It’s that expertise that’s invaluable to Upper St. Clair, according to Jaglowski when discussing a recent project that added nearly two dozen cameras at Boyce Middle School.

“It was a little over my head as far as where should these cameras be, what types of cameras should they be, that sort of thing,” he said. “Dagostino was able to help me survey the areas, work with me on camera locations, the types of cameras to surveil the types of areas that I had be it a large room [or] a corridor.”

Perhaps more important than the cameras themselves is the software that makes the system easy to use and accessible not only to school administrators and support staff like Jaglowski, but also the township’s police and fire departments and other first responders.

“What I like best about this system is that we can offer access to our security team within the school district and they can access this system from a smartphone, from a tablet [or] from a web browser at a laptop. People such as administrators in the district can access this system the same way,” he said.

At the Upper St. Clair Police Department, the camera system is displayed on a monitor in the station’s dispatch center. The system is also accessible from computers in the department’s police cruisers.

“When a complaint, a disturbance [or] an event is reported to the police department, one of the investigators can jump onto a machine in the investigative unit at the police department and review camera footage,” Jaglowski explained. “First responders [and] the Upper St. Clair Fire Department can also use our camera for any sort of event that requires a first responder.”

And the system is already working as it’s intended.

While cameras themselves often serve as a deterrent, footage has been used to record criminal events including vandalism, theft and bullying. It’s also been used when they’ve had a need for a rebuttal.

Upper St. Clair police can view the school district’s security camera system from their police cruisers.

Jaglowski explained, “We’ve had instances where non-school district employees and non-school district students and come on the property and claimed they been injured and it was the school district’s responsibility. Sometimes our footage has helped out with those events as well.”

Exterior cameras at the high school’s sports stadium, for instance, have also been key in recording incidents.

“It has come up in the past where we’ve had activity in student sections and the footage that we recorded has been instrumental in coming to a conclusion and finding out who’s responsible for what and being done with it,” Jaglowski said.

In addition to the design and installation, DES services the network as needed, making the relationship between DES and the Upper St. Clair School District one that is highly valued on both sides.

“If you could bring [DES] onboard, tell them your goals, inform [them] of what you have today and where you want to be tomorrow, they have the knowledge there to survey, to install, to replace, so it’s not all about just starting a relationship with Dagostino for new cameras and new systems but it’s also a relationship you can keep,” Jaglowski said.

The security solution at Upper St. Clair School District utilizes cameras and products from Hanwha Techwin (Samsung) and Axis Communications and Milestone video monitoring software.

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