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NJ Bill Would Bolster School Safety for Free [AUDIO]

Many New Jersey schools have surveillance cameras that can stream live video to a remote location. A new bill in Trenton would allow police to have access to the live stream in cases of emergency.

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Video Surveillance Camera
Adam Berry, Getty Images

The legislation’s sponsor said this would help keep kids safer in school, and it wouldn’t cost taxpayers a penny.

“We’ve seen throughout our country way too many instances of active shooters in our schools,” said state Sen. Jim Beach (D-Cherry Hill). “Obviously in a situation like that it would be extremely important to have real, live video of the entire inside of the school.”

Schools would not be forced to install surveillance cameras, but those that already have them would have to give law enforcement their IP address. Beach said live stream access would only be granted under certain circumstances that are agreed upon by police and school officials.

“This is not only to protect our children, but the teachers and law enforcement as well,” Beach said. “I think it’s extremely important that we use whatever technology that we have available to us to protect our kids.”

After signing a memorandum of understanding with a school, police would designate specific law enforcement officials who could access the real-time video only in cases of emergency. A plan would also have to be put in place to prevent and detect if someone is viewing the live stream with the proper authorization.

If a school district has the surveillance equipment, but doesn’t have a local police department, the State Police would designate the closest law enforcement agency.

Beach said he developed his bill after speaking with prosecutors and police chiefs.

“There is no cost because the equipment is already there,” he said. “We’re not mandating that any schools put this in. The schools that have this capability only have to give their IP address.”

The senator said he would like to see his bill passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie before the start of the school year in September.

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