JOHNSTOWN, Colo. (CBS4) – Roosevelt High School and Milliken Middle School are safer places to learn this school year, all thanks to a grant obtained by the Weld RE-5J School District. Superintendent Leslie Arnold told CBS4 the Department of Homeland Security granted them more than $300,000 to secure their schools after an application was filed.
While the money was spread in many ways, one of the most notable ways was modernizing the security system surrounding Roosevelt High School in Johnstown. Cameras, limited access doorways, school bus access technology and more were implemented at the school for the 2019-2020 school year.
School-issued identification cards also serve as access keys for the school day. Students are able to get on the bus using their ID card. And, with the school building doors locked at all times, students can use the ID cards to access certain parts of the building at certain times.
“We wish we didn’t have to have this type of security,” Arnold told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas.
Another improvement made possible by the grant was the new security camera system. Old cameras were replaced, and new ones were added throughout the entire campus.
“We added… maybe 80 more cameras than what we had,” Arnold said.
The security system is linked to the Johnstown Police Department, and allows officers to monitor the entire school property remotely. A school resource officer is also assigned to the campus.
“We can access the video from our phones, from the computers in our cars,” said Sgt. Kyle Williams of the Johnstown Police Department. “If we do have to come in for some type of emergency, we can have an idea of what we are coming in on.”
Arnold noted the security system wouldn’t be as secure if it weren’t for the DHS grant. While other larger schools in larger districts can easily pay for similar security measures, the technology still costs the same for those in smaller districts.
“(This upgrade) can help us from the smallest incidents we respond to, to the most severe. The one we hope never happens,” Williams said.
First-year Principal, Dr. Brian Littlefield, told CBS4 he was glad he could focus his time serving students rather than monitoring doors at all times of the day.
“How can we expect (students) to be successful learners if they don’t feel safe and secure in their high school?” Littlefield said. “If we can just acquire innovative technology to help our kids be safe and secure, that gives them the possibility to be more successful in learning.”