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Archives 01-15-2003

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Locker room cameras cause parent unrest
Legislative Body meeting held January 13
Collision at square linked to lights

 

Locker room cameras cause parent unrest

Cameras such as this are placed outside and inside schools in Overton County.

 

An ill-advised camera placement has many parents in an uproar.

All schools in the Overton County system have security cameras, 16 per school. Cameras around locker room areas are placed on the exterior of the outside entrance/exit door, usually. Livingston Middle School apparently was an exception.

At Livingston Middle School, cameras for the locker room doorway were installed inside instead of outside. The cameras were brought into question after girls on a visiting basketball team noticed them on Thursday, Jan. 9. The cameras were positioned in an area that allowed some of the locker room area to be seen.

Authorities were notified.

The cameras, which were apparently digital still-shot models that feed into a processing unit, were reportedly taken down the following day.

According to an informed source, a TBI agent, along with an investigator from Livingston Police Department and an Overton County deputy, went to the school Friday evening to meet with school officials. The area in question was investigated and the processing unit for the school's camera system was removed at that time for further investigation.

Each school reportedly has access to other schools' cameras, provided they have the password. The cameras were installed at Livingston Middle School in July.

Director of Schools Bill Needham gave the following statement: "After learning that two of the school system's security cameras at one school might be picking up a portion of an inappropriate area, immediate action was taken to determine the facts.

"The two cameras were removed, and the computer system has been secured with the local police department. The school system intends to cooperate fully with local authorities in investigating this matter."

Criminal charges appear unlikely though, because authorities indicate the placement of the cameras point more to bad judgement than to criminal intent.

District Attorney General William E. Gibson issued the following statement: "Our office has been made aware of a situation involving the placement of school security cameras in proximity to the boys' and girls' locker rooms at Livingston Middle School. It is our understanding that the matter has been investigated by the Overton County Sheriff's Office, although at this time we have received no formal report from that department.

"At the present time, it is our understanding that security cameras were installed in all Overton County Schools. The cameras were installed by a company from Dyersburg, Tennessee, under contract with the Overton County School System. The cameras were not hidden cameras, but rather security cameras that were placed at various locations in the schools. The cameras in question were aimed primarily at exterior doors, which provide entrance from outside to the school. Within the lens angle was captured a small part of the locker room.

"I have no information to suggest this was done for any illegal purpose and no understanding that any camera angles were modified after the installation by the security company. At this point in time, we are not contemplating any criminal prosecution. If the investigation reveals any additional facts which suggests criminal intent, we would at that time consider prosecution of those involved.

"It is my understanding that the cameras in question have now been removed. Any specific questions concerning the acquisition or placement of the cameras should be directed to the Director of the Overton County Schools."

 

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Legislative Body meeting held January 13

By DEWAIN E. PEEK, OCN staff

Overton County Legislative Body held the regular monthly meeting Monday, Jan. 13, with Commissioner Stanley Carter Jr. absent.

When approval of the minutes of the December 2002 meeting was brought before the County Commission, Commissioner Shaun Hale pointed out an incorrect item in the minutes. The minutes apparently stated that only persons living in Overton County can serve on the volunteer fire departments. He said the resolution allowed persons outside the county to be members, but not to serve on the board of directors.

The correction was approved unanimously. Commissioner Hale was appointed to the Nursing Home Board as the 3rd District member. Ronald Dishman was appointed as Overton County Historian.

Dr. Michael Cox was appointed as Overton County Medical Examiner, and Dr. Jim Nelson was appointed Overton County Assistant Medical Examiner.

Craig Story was appointed as a warrant writer.

County Executive Kenneth Copeland said, "We had a warrant writer that passed away last month, and I appointed Craig Story to do it until this time."

Applications were taken and Story was the only person who submitted an application for the job, according to Executive Copeland.

The County Commission voted to withhold $12,000 from the state to go directly into Overton County Health Department in accordance with the understanding Andy Langford, director of Overton County Health Dept., has with the state.

The need for keeping the money in the local health department is the result of more personnel being assigned to Overton County. According to Langford, the Cookeville office, which was the hub for this region, was closed because of mold. The personnel there were distributed to surrounding counties to carry on their duties. Overton County was one of the counties gaining additional staff, which in turn required additional furnishing, equipment, and other items."

We're bypassing Nashville, more or less, and it's coming straight into our local budget where I can pay the electric, the utilities, etcetera. It will cost Overton County nothing."

Langford also informed the County Commission of the efforts of the Health Department in coordinating a smallpox vaccination plan of action, should an outbreak occur.

A capital outlay note was approved for Overton County Solid Waste Department to purchase a backhoe, not to exceed $50,000. The Commission also voted to give the budget director permission to transfer approximately $50,000 from Solid Waste Capital Outlay Reserve to Debt Service to retire the Capital Outlay note used to purchase the old backhoe. Because of the specific wording used by the County Commission when the backhoe now in use was purchased, approximately two years ago, no capital outlay note can be taken for a new backhoe until that purchase is paid off.

Approved as notaries at-large are Hosea Winningham, Misty Buck, and Glenda S. Norrod.

Commissioner John Phillips spoke concerning a fax circulating through the community. The fax suggests prisoners at Overton County Jail are eating steak. Commissioner Phillips presented documentation of how much meals are costing per prisoner.

"We're running anywhere from 64 cents a day per prisoner to 78 cents a day to feed each prisoner," he said.

Commissioner Alan Atnip addressed the Commission about the rate structure at Overton County Nursing Home. The state pay rate changed to $107.75 in August, but the private pay rate at Overton County Nursing Home was changed to only $99, up from $88. According to Commissioner Atnip the rate must be the same for the state as for private because the state will pay according to the lowest rate. He suggested an immediate meeting of the Nursing Home Committee to change the rate.

Members of the Nursing Home Committee said they would meet after the Legislative Body meeting ended.

The meeting adjourned.

 

 

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Collision at square linked to lights

Becky Meredith/OCN staff

A two-vehicle collision at the corner of Spring Street and West Main Street on Thursday, Jan. 9 was very similar to a collision at that corner on December 11. As Amber R. Hooks, 17, of Livingston, was heading east on West Main Street, the 1990 Honda she was driving collided with a 1995 Plymouth Neon driven by Audra S. Jone, 22, of Cookeville. The Honda ended up in a hole where utility construction is underway for the square beautification project. A passenger in the Honda, Samantha Hooks, 16, was injured. Both drivers said they had the green light. A witness told the reporting officer, Sgt. Chris Halfacre of Livingston Police Department, that the light was not working properly. Sgt. Halfacre stated in his report that he then observed that both traffic lights were green at the same time. A systems check by Athens Technical Specialists Inc. found no problems when testing the Church and Main and Spring street lights later the same day. In the December collision at the same location, a truck ended up in the hole, and both drivers involved said they had a green light.

 

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Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570
tel 931.823.6485
fax 931.823.6486
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