North Olmsted school and city leaders discuss safety; district allowing police access to real-time video

NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio — Getting on the same page was the idea behind a recent meeting between North Olmsted City School district officials with city leaders.

“With new leadership in various positions at city hall and within the school district over the last couple of years, we wanted to have a meeting reviewing safety and communication plans together to make sure we’re prepared if something unfortunate were to happen,” North Olmsted City Schools Superintendent David J. Brand said.

Attendees included district transportation, business services, communication and technology employees and administrators, as well as representatives from the police department, fire department, city planning, recreation, communication, safety and service.

“We learned that a lot of great work has been done and continues to happen,” Brand said. “We also learned just how important these types of meetings are and continue to be to go over certain situations

“From a bus accident all the way through fire or some mass casualty situation, we all need to be prepared. You always revert back to your training. We want to make sure to continue to put an emphasis on safety, training and communication.”

It’s the latter that the district is currently in the process of upgrading. North Olmsted City Schools is using a recent $25,000 Ohio Dept. of Education award to purchase the NaviGate360/Navigate Prepared program.

“This is for training and prevention measures all the way through communication and alarms,” Brand said. “It’s a tool the school district is using to upgrade cameras, systems and internal communication devices.

“It’s also connecting our camera systems to the police stations so they can have live access. That way both the school and the city are working in unison to make sure all of the children are always safe.”

North Olmsted Police Sgt. Chuck Fioritto, who was one of a few law enforcement officials participating in the recent safety meeting, talked about the importance of school security cameras broadcasting into the city’s emergency dispatch center.

“Currently, the school administrators are able to view their security cameras and they provide the police department with historical video for investigative purposes when investigating an incident that may be criminal,” Fioritto said. “The new proposal would enable the emergency dispatchers in North Olmsted live access to the school district’s security cameras.

“Dispatchers would not routinely monitor these cameras but it would give dispatchers immediate, live access to the cameras in the event there is an emergency situation at the schools. When emergency dispatchers can view security cameras in real-time, they can more accurately direct first responders to the location of the emergency along with providing updates as to the nature of the situation.”

The current plan calls for the interoperability effort to be ready for the 2022-2023 school year.

Moving forward, the district plans to hold such safety meetings twice a year.

North Olmsted Mayor Nicole Dailey Jones said having an excellent and safe school system equates to having an excellent and safe community

“Holding these types of discussions on a regular basis keeps us all connected and collectively on the same page with the ability to work together should a crisis situation occur,” Jones said.

“The safety of all North Olmsted residents — and especially our children — is a top priority of my administration.”

Read more news from the Sun Post Herald here.

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