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Video Surveillance to Go Ahead at Five Schools

Nov 20, 2004 – Five St. Croix schools will be completely wired for video surveillance before the end of the school year, according to Meredith Nielsen, federal grants administrator for the Law Enforcement Planning Commission.
He said Saturday the schools receiving video cameras would include both high schools and elementary schools with a history of vandalism problems.
"We cannot afford another break-in," he said.
The project has not been without problems. (See "Grant for School Surveillance Cameras Sparks Debate").
In August hearings of the Education and Youth Committee, senators heard that the schools were going to lose over $350,000 in federal grant money because Education Commissioner Noreen Michaels said the department could not afford to hire anyone to monitor the video equipment.
Nielsen said he learned about three weeks ago that there would be federal grant money available to hire workers to monitor the equipment.
He said a meeting between him and school officials to discuss hiring workers would take place next week. He said his idea was that veterans of the armed forces or handicapped people be hired. "It is very important that we have dependable and reliable people filling these positions," he said.
Nielsen said it was his goal to see no federal grant money go back from the Virgin Islands, however, he added, "We almost lost this."
The grant total is now around $400,000.

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