Phase one of UNA security camera initiative complete

by News Editor Anna Brown

University officials say phase one of the parking deck camera initiative is complete, with cameras now installed at the entrances and exits of the parking deck and analog cameras used in the residence halls replaced with digital cameras.

This spring, the board of trustees agreed to spend $225,000 on new surveillance equipment in hopes to improve campus security.

“We want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to monitor the activities on campus and also respect people’s right to privacy,” said Chief of Police Kevin Gillilan. “We want to create an atmosphere in those decks that’s safe for students.”

He said having cameras at the entrances and exits of the parking deck will help police solve crimes when they occur. He also said the new digital cameras in the residence halls will provide a clearer picture and allow for zoom and facial recognition.

“We want to do more frequent patrols of those areas that are problem areas for crime like parking lots and the deck,” Gillilan said.

The police are currently monitoring the cameras and recording the footage 24/7 through an interim surveillance policy, Shields said. He said this policy is not solidified and must be vetted by the board of trustees this fall.

Sophomore Daniel Tiede said he always feels safe on campus.

Senior Emily Malone said she feels safe while walking through the parking deck during daytime hours, but is more cautious about walking through the deck at night.

“When I parked in the parking deck at night I would always call someone to talk on the phone with until I got inside,” Malone said. “With security cameras installed, I feel that a person would be able to be caught if something happened. However, I still wouldn’t feel like I was instantly safe.”

“I think it’s great that these cameras were installed,” said freshman Noah Bishop. “I think it’s a great idea for our campus.”

This policy gives the police department the rights to the footage so that if a crime occurred on camera, police can use the footage for investigative purposes, Gillilan said.

“We have the ability to monitor (the cameras) and if we see a crime occurring, we can respond to it and head things off before they become an issue,” he said. “If anything does occur, we should have that footage to review.”

Vice President for Student Affairs David Shields said there are cameras along the perimeter of the new science and technology building and new residence halls. He said there are cameras located in the common areas of these buildings as well.

“In residence halls, cameras are limited to common areas,” Gillilan said. “We want to make sure we’re not being intrusive in any way.”

Cameras are also located on the perimeter of the Science and Technology Building, he said.

Shields said he thinks adding more cameras to the inside of the parking deck and the parking lots are part of phase two of the project.

He also said he would like to see camera coverage expanded to the entrances and exits of the academic buildings.

“We will be working with the police chief to weigh in on the surveillance needs,” Shields said. “His comments and thoughts will be weighed as we move into phase two.”