Lake Sheriff creates school security analyst posts for operations center

Two new school security analyst positions have been created to help staff Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr.’s Real-time Operation Center.

The Lake County Council Tuesday approved creating the positions and eliminating a director of school safety position. Chief Vince Balbo told the council during its study session Tuesday that the director of school safety position was never filled, and the new positions would be better utilized in the Real-time Operation Center.

“Real time in the radio room will focus on public safety — school safety, specifically,” Balbo said. The change will be salary neutral. The director of school safety position pays $77,460 while the analyst positions pay $38,730. Balbo said the department has any additional costs for benefits for two employees instead of one available within its budget.

There are about 150 schools both public and private in Lake County. The department will be working with the different school systems to enter into agreements that would allow the sheriff’s department to view the live camera footage if the school requests assistance in a situation, Martinez said.

The Real-time Operations Center combines several technology systems to give law enforcement officers real-time access to information when dispatched to calls for service.

“The center also will have the capability of providing police officers with live video feeds from participating schools and other large public buildings and campuses to enhance public safety and the safety of officers during critical incidents,” Martinez said.

Intelligence-gathering resources and equipment, alongside license plate reader technology and drones, will be utilized to provide information to first responders.

“The ROC will benefit our community by strengthening our ability to help police, fire and other public safety first responders deal with any disaster: natural or otherwise,” Martinez said.

The two school security analysts are expected to be joined by two public safety analysts and at least one sergeant, Martinez said. Cost for the Real-time Crime Operations Center is funded within the existing sheriff’s department budget, he said.

“The Real-time Crime Operations Center is almost complete and should be up and running within the next 60 days. We plan to have the school security component operational this summer,” Martinez said.

“We will begin by securing memorandums of understanding with schools, businesses and other organizations detailing safety and security support to be provided by ROC in the event of an emergency at their facilities.”

Martinez said he expects to test camera systems in pilot schools within the next several weeks.