Aldermen OK funds for security cameras at Shelton schools

The Shelton Board of Aldermen has approved spending $327,763 to install security camera systems at the city’s five elementary schools.

A total of about 120 surveillance cameras will be installed at Booth Hill, Long Hill, Mohegan, Elizabeth Shelton and Sunnyside schools by Alarm New England LLC of Rocky Hill.

The city’s three other schools — Shelton High, Shelton Intermediate and Perry Hill — already have security cameras in place.

The vote by the aldermen was unanimous at a special meeting on Thursday night.

It is hoped the work can be completed before the start of the 2014-15 school year on Sept. 2, if not sooner.

Why not OK other funding too?

Alderman Jack Finn questioned why the Board of Aldermen wasn’t also acting to approve $61,000 for another project to install a security-film covering on windows at certain schools.

In response, aldermanic President John F. Anglace Jr. said the mayor and school superintendent need to discuss that potential contract further before the aldermen could take action on it. That vote could take place soon.

Some parents have been critical at the speed at which the school security improvements are being made, especially in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012.

Some costs reimbursed by state

Alarm New England’s original bid was $365,035, but the city will pay less because it does not intend to purchase an extended warranty.

The city should be reimbursed for about one-third of the project’s cost by the state.

Ben Trabka, the school system’s security supervisor, said the new web-based camera systems can be monitored at police headquarters, individual schools and his office.

It is hoped they also can be viewed by police officers in individual patrol cars when needed, which Trabka said likely can be done with the purchase of some additional minor equipment. Trabka is a retired Shelton police detective.

Five security camera bids received

Alarm New England was recommended by the city Public Improvement Building Committee (PIBC). The company was one of five firms to make bids although the PIBC concluded two of the firms did not meet the required bid specifications.

The bid by Alarm New England was the lowest bid that did meet the specifications. The highest bid submitted was $510,600.

The work will include equipment, installation, front office panic button and card readers, plus removing any existing equipment no longer needed.

The cost by individual school in the Alarm New England bid ranges from a high of $55,632 at Booth Hill to a low of $50,269 at Sunnyside.

Two other projects in works

The surveillance cameras are one of three security enhancement projects in the works for the Shelton public schools.

Another involves adding ballistic window film and mesh to help combat bullets and other weapons at five schools (Shelton High, Shelton Intermediate, Perry Hill, Booth Hill and Sunnyside). This project also should be completed  before the next school year begins.

The other is a more involved project to upgrade entryways, door locks and windows at the city’s three oldest schools (Long Hill, Mohegan and Elizabeth Shelton). A Hamden-based architectural and engineering firm, Silver/Petrucelli & Associates, has been hired to oversee this project.