High-tech security planned for Burlington County schools

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High tech security planned for Burlington County schools. Vernon Odom reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on June 12, 2018. (WPVI)

High-tech security measures like the surveillance system at Rancocas Valley Regional High are coming soon to 20 other high schools in Burlington County.

At Rancocas, the assistant principal is totally plugged in and online if there is a crisis at her school.

"We have a threat level app, and I put the code in and a bottom appears. I hit that button, I'm locking down the whole building. Several administrators have this," said Letti Branin, assistant principal.

County Freeholder Director Katie Gibbs said, "The things it may include, new entrance vestibules, scan card systems, portable streaming devices, panic alarms, entry buzzers and security cameras."

The county freeholders are poised to spend $20-million from the capital budget to go high tech in school vestibules, iPhone apps and surveillance systems.

Rancocas High has some 200 cameras up and running already.

"The saddened unfortunate reality is that shootings are happening all across the country, and far too frequently. There have been more than 300 separate incidents in the last five years, many occurring in a high school," said Gibbs.

Authorization for the shift in funding is expected to breeze through the board of freeholders Wednesday night. The county's law enforcement brass is completely on board.

Riverside Police Chief William Elias said, "Any opportunity that a school can have to increase its security, overall helps us to make sure that the facility is secured every day."

Scott Coffina, a county prosecutor said, "... people look for soft targets. And the security enhancement will harden these schools as targets, protect the school building, protect their students in it, and give law enforcement a better opportunity to respond if something happens."

And now pending in the Trenton State House is a measure to spend a half billion dollars for school districts across the Garden State.

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