The Plymouth School Board voted unanimously to appoint Plymouth resident Gary Cook to the newly formed position of Security Systems Monitor. A part of the security measures being implemented is the installation of CCTV (closed circuit television) system that includes video monitors in each of the corporations’ buildings along with multiple monitors in a central location where all of videos can be accessed. Among other duties, Cook will continually monitor the video screens.
Cook will report to the corporations’ Safety and Security Director, James Phillips, who was hired in July 0f 2013 to head up the corporation’s safety programs.
During the Board meeting, Superintendent Daniel Tyree said, “The CCTV system in all of our schools only works if we have a monitor.” He added that the person serving as a monitor could observe a number of situations that could range, for example, from a student going out a side door to a more serious situation such as an intruder.
In the event of suspicious activity, Cook would be required to call appropriate support services including, but not limited to, administrators, paramedics, or police.
Tyree said that they received 18 applications and interviewed six of those who applied. The final determination was made by a committee who interviewed the final three candidates. Tyree said, “Gary (Cook) rose to the top very quickly.” “We are really blessed to have someone of that category in that position.” Tyree added.
Cook comes with a unique background that lends itself to the position. He has resigned from his position with Adult Protective Services in South Bend where he had served for approximately six years.
He served with the Plymouth Police Department from 1975-1995 and the Argos Police Department from 1998-2003. Cook also served as an Indiana State Representative from 1990-2003 and Mayor of Plymouth, 2004-2007.
Immediately following his appointment, the Board voted unanimously to accept Cook’s resignation from the Board. According to state statute, a Board member cannot be a school employee. Tyree indicated that on the advice from the Board’s attorney, Jeff Houin, the resignation had to be rendered immediately.
After the meeting, Cook said he is looking forward to getting started. He indicated that he will receive additional training such as indicators of potential problems and will also be observing similar systems at Penn High School.
The Board will begin the process of naming a replacement for Cook starting April 2. An advertisement will be published to announce the vacancy. Candidates must reside within the City of Plymouth to be eligible since Cook represented that district. Letters of interest for the vacancy must be received by April 16 in the superintendent’s office. On April 17, selected candidates will be given interviews. According to Tyree, a special Board meeting will be held on April 29 to vote on a successor.
If the Board’s vote would end in a tie, the matter would be forwarded to Marshall County Circuit Court Judge, Curt Palmer, to make the appointment.