Campuses Seek New Video Surveillance Implementations to Preempt Incidents

MINNEAPOLIS – Security officials from the University of Minnesota (UM) were recently introduced to the world of intelligent video surveillance.

UM Police Chief Greg Hestness and Director of Department of Central Security Bob Janoski acquired their education upon a visit to Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University where the technology is in use. Behavior recognition software that can alert security monitoring personnel of potential incidents have piqued the interest of security officials.

“We plan to prepare a design and cost estimate for budget submission during the next fiscal year,” Janoski told Campus Safety. “Our goal is to utilize intelligent video solutions within public spaces much like Johns Hopkins University did, monitoring walkways, plazas, mall areas, parking areas, skyways, tunnels and links to reduce crime risks.”

Johns Hopkins spent approximately $500,000 on initial setup for 32 cameras, funds UM student group American Constitution Society for Law and Policy contends would be better served hiring another police officer.

According to Janoski, security project applications are accepted annually, early in March, at UM.

UM currently has more than 800 security cameras monitoring buildings and parking lots.

In other news, the Fontanta (Calif.) Unified School District board has approved a $1 million network video surveillance system to be installed at several of its high schools and middle schools. Surveillance footage will be fed into a school police dispatch center monitoring Fontana, A.B. Miller, Kaiser, Summit, Birch and Citrus high schools and a few district middle schools.

The plan of action arrives in the wake of a district high school fight last year that escalated into a 500-person riot. Beanbags and rubber pellets were fired into the crowd to break up the incident. At least nine students were arrested. District police believe the system will significantly increase student safety.

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