LA VISTA, Neb. (KMTV) — It has been more than ten months since La Vista boy Ryan Larsen went missing from La Vista West Elementary School. He was 11 years old.
In November, La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten said he really wanted to see the school district install security cameras at its 16 elementary schools.
The district wanted to do the same, and after getting the funds and a proposal in order, Papillion La Vista Community Schools is now ready to get the ball rolling. As the board passed the proposal unanimously at its monthly board meeting.
The project will cost just over $610,000, with $500,000 coming from Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds. These funds are federal funds that were given out for COVID relief.
The board says this is an important step in safety and security. The district already has a security system installed at its high schools and middle schools.
Lausten says the police department is all for the new security systems, and they could have played a significant role when Ryan Larsen went missing and could play a crucial role in any similar cases moving forward.
“The early stages of someone who goes missing, the first hour is critical,” Lausten said. “If you can get an idea of even which direction they headed when they left with video footage obviously that gives you a step forward.”
Lausten believes the community needs to continue to stay up with technology and the tools it provides us with.
“As we advance with technology, I think we need to stay on top of it. We shouldn’t be reactive,” Lausten said. “I think whether it’s a school district or city government we should be proactive about what we’re doing.”
The installation of the security cameras and system will take place as soon as materials begin coming in, with most of the work taking place in the summer.
The board says the cameras won’t just make it easier to monitor who enters and leaves the building but can be used to limit bullying and violence to keep students and staff safe when at school.
Along with stopping vandalism, other forms of criminal behavior, and preparing the schools in real-time emergency situations.
It can also be used for contact tracing. Which is how it was able to use the ESSER funds to pay for the new system.