Your July 24 editorial, “Police surveillance is the wrong approach to student safety,” did an excellent job of explaining the issues with the use of school video networks by police, which can be helpful for investigations of serious crimes and emergencies arising in the schools. It is unfortunate that the mayor of Springfield will not identify any safeguards to prevent abuse of the system.
It is technically feasible to have the superintendents of the police and the schools automatically notified every time the police connect to the school system, including the time, date, and duration of access, which can be logged. This can be done in real time or delayed, so as to prevent compromising investigations. The log also may demonstrate abuse of access to the system, if that is ever the case.
The supervisor authorizing the access could be required to file a complete report with the superintendent of police to document and identify the circumstances of the access and the results. If questions over frequency of use or any other reasonable concerns arise, the police superintendent could then investigate the circumstances of the access and provide information substantiating the access to the mayor and the superintendent of schools. This may provide sufficient transparency to assure the public of the proper use of the system.
The writer is a retired lieutenant with the Wellesley Police Department.