Friday, October 22, 2010

State Supported Living Centers in Texas will install security cameras to protect disabled residents

From KENS5-TV in Texas:

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Reports of neglect and abuse of the mentally disabled at State Supported Living Centers have prompted lawmakers
to require extra protection.

The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services is installing security cameras at all of their 13 facilities across the state. This after a new law passed in 2009.

The San Antonio State Supported Living Center was one of the first to be fully equipped with a 123 cameras watching over 282 residents, many of whom suffer from mental retardation and can hardly communicate.

"They are an additional tool that help us protect these residents because they are very vulnerable and their safety is our top priority," Said Allison Lowery with the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services.

Lowery emphasizes that the cameras don't replace vigilant workers but allow for extra protection instead.

The monitoring system would also protect the staff from false accusations.

" A staff member was accused of abusing a resident when video footage was reviewed. The staff member wasn't even in the room. We knew that person didn't do anything," Lowery Said.

The contracted company, Knight Security Systems based in Houston, will install 3,200 cameras in the 13 facilities.

"It involves a lot more than just putting cameras up on the wall. They had to run fiber optic cable systems at all facilities, set up those monitoring rooms," Said Lowery, "By the time they're done, they will have run something like 35 miles of fiber optic cable."

The $12 million project is expected to be finished in January of 2011.