The Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County is a rural school district comprised of approximately 60 square miles in central Indiana, located only miles outside of the state's capital. The school district has a current enrollment of approximately 3,300 students, providing transportation to and from school for nearly half of those students.
In 2011, Steve Satterly, Transportation & Safety Director for Southern Hancock County School Districts, knew it was time to upgrade the district's school bus fleet from its antiquated VCR based surveillance systems to more reliable digital video surveillance systems. He interviewed a couple of surveillance companies and conducted an Internet search of available mobile surveillance options. After months of dedicated research, Satterly decided to get AngelTrax camera systems installed on his entire fleet.
- New Palestine, IN
- K-12 School System
- 3 Elementary Schools
- 1 Middle School
- 1 High School
- Hybrid Quest Mobile DVR
- PeriOptic Lens Cameras
- Virtual Synchronized Mapping
- Transports approximately 1,500 students each school day
- Each bus is on the road 5 - 6 hours a day
- 40 buses in entire fleet
- 36 buses with 4 camera AngelTrax mobile video surveillance systems
- Hybrid Quest + 4 cameras + Virtual Synchronized Mapping system
- AngelTrax systems have been installed for 2 years
"I'm very concerned about student safety," Satterly said. "Bullying that I know that goes on in buses. I want to avoid those news stories where you get drivers aides who are accosted by students or the fights that occur on buses … Students should be able to come to and from school and feel safe."
With bullying incidents and behavioral issues on the rise, Satterly knew he had to do something to help increase student and driver safety on the district's school buses.
"I had a lot of bullying incidents … We had an incident where a boy groped a girl on the back of a bus … We had a student with a gun on the bus," he said. "All of those incidents we were able to resolve in the old-fashioned way, but in today's world you want to have that video evidence to back up your actions."
In an era when student and driver incidents commonly lead to litigation, Satterly needed an onboard surveillance system that would consistently capture high-resolution video and audio evidence to serve as definite proof in court.
"We were getting a lot of complaints on student behavior and some of them were getting close to litigation," Satterly said. "We wanted to get away from the 'he said, she said' aspect of investigation and get down to the hard video evidence."
The Right Solution
The Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County uses a four-camera system with Virtual Synchronized Mapping — the only truly synchronized video and mapping system available — and AngelTrax's patented modular component DVR, the Hybrid Quest. The Hybrid Quest MDVR uses a slide-rail component design, making it the only mobile DVR that is fully-serviceable in the field — dramatically reducing long-term ownership and maintenance costs.
"With technology, you can never rest on status quo," Satterly said. "Technology is always improving, always getting better. You have to not only be able to put the latest technology in your fleet, you have to be able to keep up with that technology as it improves and changes."
Installed on every bus in the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County's fleet is an AngelTrax Hybrid Quest MDVR. "One of the things we really like about the AngelTrax system, in terms of being able to upgrade, is that with the modular system we can just plug in any new features that come along," he said.
Each component in the DVR, including the motherboard and power board, is designed as a separate slide-rail tray. This allows each component to be removed from the unit’s housing and serviced independently from the rest of the DVR. The modular design secures the option to integrate new and more advanced features as the district’s needs evolve.
"That’s why we required our systems to be able to upgrade," Satterly said. "You have to be able to keep up with all those hardware and software changes, otherwise you'll end up with a fleet of buses like we had when I came in, where most of the surveillance systems didn't work, or some of them belonged in museums."
How They Use AngelTrax
"We use it for a lot of things," he said. "I use it to check on driver behaviors. I use it to check on student behaviors. We use it for investigative purposes. I'll get calls from school administrators saying 'something happened on the bus can you check it out?' We used it this past week to locate a missing laptop computer. So we use the heck out of it."
Satterly primarily purchased the AngelTrax surveillance system to monitor student behavior and promote safety. However, after using the system, he discovered the added benefit of enhanced driver management. "When I bought the system I wasn't looking so much to deal with driver training and improvement," he said. "But that's become something that we've done ... If I can sit down with the drivers and collaborate on how they can improve themselves, it is much more powerful. With the drivers, I want there to be collaboration. They are the professionals, and we can work together as professionals to improve their driving — AngelTrax has become an integral part of that."
"We have been able to achieve a higher rate of successful resolution to discipline issues on the bus. A lot of times something will happen and it's hard for an administrator to act on circumstantial evidence that's often presented. With the video evidence we can remove the circumstantial."
The ultimate goal of the AngelTrax surveillance system, Satterly emphasizes, is to encourage student and driver safety onboard the buses. Satterly uses the AngelTrax surveillance systems to aid him in successfully investigating behavioral issues, acts of vandalism, thefts, parent/driver issues and driver behavior management.
"We've been able to solve 100 percent of our vandalism cases. We've been able to increase the amount of times that we have successfully been able to resolve bullying issues. I want to say that in the two years that I've been here, we’ve been able to 100 percent successfully resolve any parent issues with the driver."
Satterly also uses the system as an objective and impartial witness of onboard events — one that can provide conclusive evidence when a student's conduct is in question. "It certainly has helped with student behavior and the parent's perceptions of what happens on the bus — it's been a God send for us."
Moving forward, Satterly plans to continue to use AngelTrax products on the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County's buses, making AngelTrax their sole provider for mobile video surveillance technology.
There were multiple factors that led Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County to partner with AngelTrax in the spring of 2011 for its mobile video surveillance equipment — including confidence in the hardware and software. "Technologically speaking, they are heads above everybody else that I've seen," Satterly said. "I've seen some other systems that are starting to incorporate some of the features that AngelTrax had. So that lets me know that AngelTrax is an industry leader — they are setting the bar for others to follow. It makes me feel good about having selected AngelTrax.”
Satterly emphasized that he selected AngelTrax because of their reputation in the mobile video surveillance industry not only for innovative technologies but also superb customer service. "I like AngelTrax because of its reliability, of the equipment and of the software," he said. "I love the service that I can call and things get handled immediately. They can even remote in and take care of the issue right then and there. If we have a drive that is determined to not be working they will overnight a new drive. All around it's been very user-friendly for us."
"The purchase of our system has been very worthwhile," Satterly said. "Being able to improve driver performance and manage student behavior on the buses. We’ve got a lot of bang for our buck with the AngelTrax system."