MOU also includes Aztec, Bloomfield and Farmington districts

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SHIPROCK — The Central Consolidated School District will join other school districts to allow the county's 911 call center to monitor video surveillance during emergency situations at schools.

The memorandum of understanding that outlines the purpose and parties' responsibilities is between CCSD, the Aztec Municipal School District, the Bloomfield School District, the Farmington Municipal School District and the San Juan County Communications Authority.

The purpose of the memorandum of understanding is to provide guidelines for the use of video camera monitoring and surveillance on the districts' properties in a way that enhances security and aids law enforcement when an emergency is declared by the district.

Aztec Superintendent Kirk Carpenter and Farmington Superintendent Eugene Schmidt signed the agreement in June, followed by Bloomfield Superintendent Kim Mizell in July.

The CCSD Board of Education received a report about the agreement before voting in favor of the district's participation during a special meeting Monday in Shiprock.

Candice Thompson, director of operations for the district, said the agreement was developed because the districts wanted another measure to help law enforcement personnel when they respond to emergency situations.

Under the agreement, the county dispatch would have access to district video surveillance systems and would be able to view video from any school through a website.

Access to the system and website would be limited to authorized personnel from the dispatch center and the districts.

It would only be used when a district declares an emergency, Thompson said.

"In the event that we have something happening in one our schools, we can get onto the secured website and see what is actually happening in real time, so that law enforcement has real time information in responding to an incident involving one of our schools," Thompson said.

All authorized staff members will be trained by the county communications authority about the technical, legal and ethical parameters of appropriate video access and federal regulations regarding rights to privacy, the agreement states.

CCSD continues to address safety through work underway by Shaka Rucker, the district's safety coordinator.

Rucker said since he was hired this summer, he has been in communication with the Navajo Nation police and the San Juan County Sheriff's Office about further development of safety measures for the district's schools.

He also has been conducting an assessment of buildings, including examining fencing, crosswalks and visitor access.

Board President Adam Begaye, Board Secretary Christina J. Aspaas and members Charlie Jones Jr. and Ruthda Thomas voted in favor of the district participating in the agreement.

Board Vice President Sheldon Pickering was absent from the special meeting.

Interim superintendent Terri Benn said the memorandum of understanding will be signed this week.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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