Surveillance revamped, new camera system to be installed on campus

January 28, 2010

by Ashley Dison

In efforts to aid Tech police in fighting crime, a new security camera system will soon be installed in lieu of the minimal array of older cameras currently present on campus.

Allison Reynolds, president of the Student Government Association, said she has worked with the Student Technology Fee board and Tech Police Chief Randal Hermes since last summer on a vision she had of a more extensive camera system.

“The process began last June following a hit-and-run incident involving my own car, which, of course, enraged me,” Reynolds said.

“It just so happened to have occurred in an area where there was no security camera up, so nothing could be done about it. That’s what sparked the passion in me to try to supplement our security system so there could be justice for victims of such things.”

Reynolds said the STF board voted on and passed the new camera system proposal last November.

She said the cost of the system is estimated at $60,000, which is roughly 10 percent of the current STF fund of $625,000.

According to Tech policy 1304, “the Student Technology Fee Program shall be dedicated to the acquisition, installation, maintenance and efficient use of state-of-the-art technology solely for the purpose of improving student life and learning, and to the preparation of students for the work places of the 21st century.”

The policy states that the fee should be paid by students each quarter and should not exceed $5 per credit hour or $60 per quarter.

Reynolds said the STF board strives to use the funds in ways that will benefit students the most.

Stephan White, a junior computer science major, said he has had issues involving vandalism of his vehicle, and because of a lack of a working camera nearby, the perpetrators could not be identified.

“Last year, I experienced a string of episodes where people were putting trash and things like paint and scrap wood they apparently did not want to go to a proper dumpster and dispose of,” White said. “The camera on the corner of Graham Residence Hall was stuck pointing directly at Nethken Hall instead of rotating to show the gravel parking lot where I parked. It’s great that they’re getting new cameras because that was frustrating.”

Hermes said he has worked with Reynolds extensively on selecting and mapping out the locations the cameras are most needed.

“This is going to help us do our job much more efficiently and make students feel more secure, so I am excited about it,” Hermes said. “We have eight or nine working cameras on campus now, but the new system will include 43 or 44.”

He also said the cameras are not limited to the main campus.

“All residential areas, including the new apartments, as well as Thomas Assembly Center and the football stadium will be equipped,” Hermes said. “There will also be cameras that provide us with street views on Tech Drive.”

Hermes said the new cameras will be high-quality instruments that will allow police to view images in color.

“We can monitor these cameras from dispatch and see whatís going on in areas we couldnít before,” Hermes said. “The new cameras are compatible and comparable to the old ones; they are just new models, so of course, they are an improvement.”

Reynolds said the camera system should be installed by the end of the winter quarter.

“I definitely want to see this done before my term is up in the spring,” Reynolds said. “This is something Iíve worked hard on and am very passionate about, and I know it will be a great benefit to everyone.”