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Long Island Goes Cutting Edge On School Security: Live Feeds To Police Cars

WESTBURY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- School security, in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy is taking on a new look. On Long Island on Thursday, a new system was unveiled allowing police to have a live view inside schools.

It's the new age of school security: Cameras feeding live video and audio to a command center, which, during a crisis, can be viewed and heard by law enforcement, CBS 2's Carolyn Gusoff reported.

"We can hear if someone is making a threat. We can hear if people are screaming, so whatever is happening in that environment we can bring back here," said Clifford Steinberg of Nassau BOCES.

Three school districts are on board and Nassau BOCES, the agency that coordinates services for Long Island school districts, is hoping all will sign on. Districts will save money and, if needed, police can see and hear what happening inside school walls.

For example, CBS 2's Gusoff saw one view of the front entrance of East Hills Middle School can be seen at BOCES central command and if needed in police precincts and patrol cars.

"Only in the event of an emergency police will be able to bring up camera feeds so they know what the need is before they enter a building," said Dr. Tom Rogers, the CEO of Nassau BOCES.

Long Island high-tech security
Three districts on Long Island are participating in a new high-tech school surveillance program that would give police a live feed from inside schools. (Photo: CBS 2)

All of it has been made possible by BOCES' new fiber optic system connecting Nassau's school districts for learning and savings. The county executive said it will be a model for other public places.

"We'll be rolling this out and asking large facilities like hospitals and places of worship and large places of assembly that have floor plans to participate," Ed Mangano said.

At Roslyn High School, where 80 existing cameras are now linked to central command, educators said families are willing to put up with a little "big brother" in the post-Newtown, Conn. tragedy world.

"They understand we are not looking over their shoulder. We put cameras in place to protect their kids," Roslyn School District Superintendent Dan Brenner said.

Nassau Police told CBS 2's Gusoff they hope the system has a deterrent effect.

The cost of monitoring varies per school district, depending upon how many security cameras they have.

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