Camera system watches everyone entering Sevier schools

Security system at Sevierville Primary School. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- With school security on the minds of every school district, Sevier County has ramped up security to a new level, where they can watch and question everyone trying to get in.

The first thing you'll see if you try to get into Sevierville Primary School is a new intercom system. You can't see who's talking to you, but they can see you, up and down. The school has locked every door, and no one can get in without the office saying yes.

"Our cameras allow us to see the front of the person, the back of the person, We can zoom and pan, we can scan with them all while the person has no idea we're doing that," said Leia Loveday, a resource officer with Sevier County Sheriff's Office. "It's got lots of capabilities on it. We can then make that decision if we're going to let them in or not and refuse that entry."

Loveday used to be stationed at the front door, now everyone in the front office can see what's going on outside. She says that frees her up to work with students and other security issues on campus.

Once people are in the building they still must report to the office, with a photo ID in hand, and explain what business they have at the school.

"I've been doing this a long time, it's changed," said Harriet Berrier, Sevierville Primary School Principal. "We all feel the same way about our children. You send your children to school every day and you want to know that they're safe and that they're learning."

Berrier says the security system is a result of recommendations principals gave to the district superintendent after the shooting in Connecticut.

Loveday says the new system has already cut down on the amount of people who try to get in.

"To some it's put them on the spot and they've nt returned," said Loveday.

The district says the cameras cost $35 thousand dollars for the entire district.

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