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Dayton Schools Catch Vandals with High-Tech Camera System

Three years after an Ohio district devoted $3.3 million to upgrading digital video cameras in all 27 of its schools, with live feeds and remote access, the district caught intruders in the process of stealing equipment.

(TNS) — Two Dayton schools were vandalized Tuesday morning, but the district caught two of the three suspects immediately thanks to the high-tech camera system it installed a few years ago.

Dayton Public Schools officials said alarms went off early Tuesday, first at Wogaman Middle School just off Germantown Street, then at Dunbar High School just less than a mile away.

Richard Wright, DPS chief of safety and security, said the police regional dispatch center called him at home about 5 a.m. to notify him of the alarm alert at Wogaman.

"Our (security resource officers) were already out doing transport details and checking buildings," Wright said. "They got to Wogaman and started dusting for prints, and then we got a second alarm over at Dunbar."

One of the advantages to the district's new camera system is the ability to access the video feed remotely. While the district's officers drove to Dunbar, Wright pulled the school's live security camera images up on his smartphone at home, checking each camera until he found the suspects.

"I was able to navigate Dayton Police and our SROs through the building to where (the intruders) were, prior to them running from the building," Wright said. "Of the three that were in there, we apprehended two."

Wright said the vandals caused significant damage to door and window glass at both schools. But the laptop computers they tried to carry out of the building were recovered.

Back in 2016, a 7-year-old DPS student was stabbed on the playground at World of Wonder school. Camera footage of that crime was not clear enough to help police identify the assailant.

Two years later, Dayton's school board approved spending $3.3 million to upgrade video cameras in all 27 of its schools, with Wright calling the quality of the new digital cameras "just phenomenally, vastly different."

©2021 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.