Safeguarding Our Future

Safeguarding Our Future

Billings School District

October 18, 2018
“The new Avigilon system has made our jobs a whole lot easier,” said Kevin Kirkman, Principal at Riverside Middle School. “When an incident occurs, school administrators no longer have to talk to multiple individuals to try and figure out what happened. The investigation is simple; we can see what happened, clear as day. It’s made it easier to uphold school rules and maintain a safe environment for students and staff.”

Billings Public Schools (BPS) is the largest school district in the state of Montana, comprised of 31 schools, 1,800 teachers and over 17,000 students living within a highly diverse region. BPS strives to inspire, educate and empower students to be responsible and innovative global citizens who achieve their full potential, and they are looked to as an example for other schools when it comes to education and security practices.

With such a sizable student and teacher population, risk mitigation became an inherent security priority for BPS. Total Education Solutions in Technology Inc., a security integrator, introduced the district to Avigilon to demonstrate how a complete security solution could help to enhance safety of their students and staff. BPS decided to implement a pilot solution in one of their middle schools, where common challenges include vandalism, graffiti and bullying amongst the students.

A New Solution

To combat the high rate of crime and at-school incidents that Riverside Middle School was facing, BPS deployed a complete Avigilon video surveillance system featuring video analytics. Avigilon cameras with selflearning video analytics were installed along with Avigilon Control Center (ACC) video management software and Avigilon Appearance Search technology. The system allows BPS to leverage artificial intelligence and video analytics capabilities to help quickly search for, identify, verify and act on potentially critical events.

Within just seven months, BPS saw a considerable change within Riverside Middle School. The new security system served as both an effective deterrent and investigative tool, helping to reduce incidents of vandalism, graffiti and bullying. BPS saw first-hand how Avigilon solutions could help them achieve three of their top objectives: mitigating violence, de-escalating bullying, and reducing vandalism and theft.

Avigilon in Action

Mitigating Violence
After installation of the system, a significant fight occurred at the school gym between a few of the students. After the principal was called and the incident concluded, each student was interviewed so that school administrators could gain a better understanding of what had happened and respond accordingly. Since there were discrepancies with each story, the principal relied on ACC’s easy-to-use interface, advanced search capabilities and exceptional image detail to uncover the truth, and was able to identify and resolve the situation in a matter of minutes.

De-escalating Bullying
BPS experienced further success with their new security system when the principal noticed a particular student had a habit of taking her lunch to the bathroom on a daily basis. Avigilon Appearance Search technology enabled the principal to quickly confirm the student’s whereabouts during lunch hours by showing when she entered and exited the bathroom, which prompted him to address the strange behavior with the student. After a brief conversation, the principal realized she was forced to do so as a result of bullying and was able to resolve the issue with all involved students and their parents to ensure the behavior would stop.

“When a student is facing bullying, our security system can help to take the target off their back,” says Kevin Kirkman, Principal at Riverside Middle School. “Kids are often scared to voice these kinds of issues to an adult because they fear retaliation, but now we can catch bullying without it being reported; we can gather robust video evidence and address the behavior without creating further problems for the victim.”

Reducing Vandalism and Theft
Outside of inter-student conflicts, BPS has been able to use their new security system as a safeguard against property damage and liability claims. In one such case, BPS used video evidence and Avigilon Appearance Search technology to locate and identify that a contractor working onsite was responsible for an open door that led to a break-in. This allowed BPS to hold the contractor accountable for the expenses of the related damages.

“The new Avigilon system has made our jobs a whole lot easier,” says Mr. Kirkman. “When an incident occurs, school administrators no longer have to talk to multiple individuals to try and figure out what happened. The investigation is simple; we can see what happened, clear as day. It’s made it easier to uphold school rules and maintain a safe environment for students and staff.”

The Avigilon system has also enabled proactive after-hours monitoring of the school grounds. With predefined analytics rules, the system can detect the movement of people and vehicles in specific areas and notify operators for further investigation, allowing them to quickly respond to potentially critical events before they escalate.

A Scalable Success
BPS’s new security solution has provided Riverside Middle School with an extra layer of security. By allowing staff to mitigate risk and proactively address negative behavior in a middle school that faced vandalism, graffiti and bullying, it has helped decrease at-school incidents and crime rates. As a result of its success, BPS is planning to standardize Avigilon security solutions in various phases throughout the district.

© 2018 Avigilon Corporation. All rights reserved. AVIGILON, the AVIGILON logo, AVIGILON CONTROL CENTER, ACC and AVIGILON APPEARANCE SEARCH are trademarks of Avigilon Corporation. Other names and logos mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Industry: Education

Location: Billings, Montana

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