Surveillance Cameras on Campus
Surveillance cameras on the roof of the Liberal Arts Building on the east end of campus face the parking lots surrounding the building. (Cara Johnson/ The Vista).
Up to 500 video surveillance cameras could be monitoring buildings on campus and in parking lots in the next year.
A project to install video surveillance cameras has been in progress since 2015. Currently, about 200 cameras are active on UCO’s Edmond campus and off-campus buildings. Before the project started, there were few cameras on campus and they were low quality.
“We’ve grown in just, literally just, two and a half years, we’ve gone from no cameras to over 200,” Norman Nieves, UCO’s director of emergency management, said. “We can see ourselves being, like in the next year maybe, close to 500 cameras across campus.”
Nieves said between 30 and 40 cameras are coming online in the next few months. Cameras are not yet present in every building. The surveillance camera policy states that UCO is required to post signage on buildings that are monitored by cameras.
Areas that are currently monitored include: Nigh University Center, The Quad, West Hall, University Suites, Housing Office, Max Chambers Library, Old North, Hamilton Field House, Wantland Stadium, Chesapeake Boathouse, Carnegie Center, Center for eLearning and Continuing Education building on Bryant, Center for eLearning and Continuing building on Ayers and Information Technology closets.
A limited number of people can access footage from the cameras, Nieves said. Each department only has access to the footage recorded on its cameras, but UCO’s police department can access all footage that is recorded, he said.
“The footage is used for different things, but it’s mostly for the safety of our students,” Nieves said.
Nieves described the policy for using footage as extensive. Footage may be used to help solve crimes and keep track of individuals going in and out, but it cannot be used to embarrass people.
“They’re there for your safety. We use the footage for safety reasons only,” he said.
Departments can request to have cameras installed, pay an installation fee and an annual sustainability fee.
The sustainability fee is used to fund the Security Technology Coordinator position, purchase backup cameras in case one breaks and purchase servers, in addition to other necessities.
The university uses an enterprise-wide system, so every camera is the same.
Plans are in the works to bring surveillance cameras to more parking lots, like the ones already being used in parking lots near the Liberal Arts building. Transportation and Parking Services is partnering with the Physical Plant to coordinate placing cameras outside and inside of buildings. This could allow the cameras to work off of the same connections while facing different directions, Nieves said.
“The exterior of the campus are the ones that are starting to grow a little bit and then in the next few months some more buildings, inside buildings, of the inside are going to start growing,” Nieves said.