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New security cameras aim to increase safety on campus

by Shelby Toth - Staff Writer
Tue, Oct 29th 2019 08:00 pm
The College at Brockport has begun a new safety initiative, the Security Camera Program Initiative. The program will implement over 50 additional security cameras on campus.
The College at Brockport has begun a new safety initiative, the Security Camera Program Initiative. The program will implement over 50 additional security cameras on campus.

On-campus security is one of the most important concerns of any college. The College at Brockport has taken strides recently in increasing its safety through the Security Camera Program Initiative.    

Emergency Manager for The College at Brockport Frederick Rion has been part of the college since 2016 and, upon his arrival, he began working on the emergency management program. Not long after, University Police (UP) received a new chief, Daniel Vasile. The two began to discuss ways to improve campus safety and the amount of security cameras on campus.

According to Rion, the biggest concern with the current security cameras is the lack of unity between the different monitoring systems.

“[The initiative] basically started out because there were a lot of different departments or locations around campus that had their own kind of internal security cameras,” Rion said. “So the only people who had access to them really was like, you know, that department, the head of that department. And if something occurred, if there was a concern about a crime or something occurring, those folks, those individual reps would get in touch with University Police to come over and take a look at the footage and do their investigation.”

There are multiple issues with this system, according to Rion, such as the fact there is no campus-wide policy in place to get these cameras. Because of this, there are multiple different types of cameras and hardware and an unclear path to getting help in making decisions on cameras.

Taking this problem and others into account, Rion was asked to head the security camera committee. This group had a few main goals, which involved bringing all the cameras into one platform and creating a security camera policy. This committee included Rion, UP, Facilities, Information Services, Residential Life and others.

The results of the initiative thus far have consisted of running the cameras through UP — with the organization having sole access to the recordings — a new policy and an increased number of cameras.

Rion requested 14 additional cameras, all contributing to areas in need of them after some research. He explained Residential Life is planning on adding over 50 more cameras in addition to their existing 100+.

While this could raise concerns for privacy issues, Rion made sure to explain the committee took special care to factor such concerns into its policy.

“We had [the policy] vetted by SUNY Council in Albany, so that they were like, ‘yeah, this is fine,’” Rion said. “You know, we want to be sure that there were things in there like, no cameras can ever be installed in someplace where — like your room or near a bathroom or in a locker room or things like that. Obviously, there’s those important rights to privacy that we want to be sure we’re very, very clear on.”

A majority of the cameras will not be monitored at all times. There are monitors in UP that will play a few of the cameras, but Rion explained even those monitors are not watched “24/7.” All video footage gets deleted after 30 days in order to make room for more. The efforts made on behalf of the committee help to keep Brockport moving on a path toward increased security.

“It’s really about safety and making people feel as comfortable as possible,” Rion said.

Many students agree the addition of new security cameras helps increase the overall well-being of campus.

“I do feel that cameras make me feel safer,” Senior Healthcare Administration major Allie Hammonds said. “I do feel that Brockport is a relatively safe campus. I think that UP also does a really good job with making the students feel safe here.”

Another student explained while security cameras do not change how they feel about their safety on campus, it can positively affect other people’s comfort and is therefore beneficial.

“For me personally, I do already feel safe on campus but I do know that is not the same case for many other students,” Senior Exercise Science major Matthew Goris said. “I know many of my friends who are women or Muslim or part of any other marginal group do not feel safe walking on campus at night. I don’t think this is a safe campus, because if all students do not feel safe at their own school then we do need to ensure that we’re taking action to put in things that make students feel safe.”

While the project is not complete, according to Rion, it will remain malleable for years. This will be to ensure updates can be made if needed to continuously maintain the safety of the college.

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