Inside: Security

CAMERA COVERAGE IN CHICAGO

City and school officials in Chicago hope to boost security on public school campuses by giving city police real-time access to school camera surveillance.

“When this program is fully implemented over the next few months, we will have a comprehensive school security system that will make it far easier for us to respond more quickly and effectively to any emergency at a school building,” says Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. “They will provide an additional set of eyes and ears to our efforts to protect our students.”

The school system has more than 4,500 cameras inside and outside about 200 of its 650 school facilities. Before the announcement, only school district officials could see the surveillance in real time. Now the Chicago Police Department and the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications will be able to monitor the video.

That will enable first responders to an emergency to see real-time video from inside and outside a building on their portable data terminals.

Daley noted that city police will routinely monitor only exterior cameras. Officers will view the interior camera surveillance only when emergencies occur.

INITIATIVE FOCUSES ON CAMPUS RISKS

The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), along with other organizations, has begun a campus safety and security project that will assess wide-ranging risks common to all higher-education institutions.

The association says the study will explore key safety and security threats and offer guidance to help campuses prepare for potential trouble, including information on preparing emergency-management plans. The assessment will cover potentially devastating events such as natural disasters, infectious diseases, shootings, terrorist attacks and cyber attacks.

“For the next 12 months, we'll conduct research through a survey of a cross section of colleges and universities to identify the current state of emergency preparedness,” says James Hyatt, project director. “The project team will also do onsite research by visiting a diverse set of campuses.”

NACUBO's partners in the effort are APPA, EDUCAUSE, the American College Personnel Association, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators,the National Association of College and University Attorneys, and the University Risk Management and Insurance Association.

STRONGER SECURITY SOUGHT

A task force on campus security in the University of California system says schools could provide safer campuses by pursuing improvements in student mental-health programs, emergency communications, preparedness and response, and prevention and hazard mitigation.

The Report of the University of California Campus Security Task Force was commissioned last year by University of California President Robert Dynes after the deadly shooting rampage at Virginia Tech. The task force says the system has already taken many steps to bolster campus safety, but notes several areas where security could be enhanced.

Among the suggested improve-ments for campuses:

  • Complete a “gap analysis” that inventories and evaluates current emergency communications practices, capabilities and needs to identify and close any gaps.

  • Assess public safety responder levels and equipment to determine if a campus has sufficient resources for a rapid and effective response to an incident.

  • Conduct a security survey of existing facilities and prioritize needed improvements.

WHO'S PATROLLING THE CAMPUS?

Number of college campuses with more than 2,500 students 750
Percentage of those campuses with sworn police officers 74%
Percentage of campuses with armed law-enforcement officers 67%
Percentage of campuses with 24-hour patrol 98%
Percentage of campuses with a three-digit emergency number 95%
Percentage of campuses with blue-light emergency phones 91%
Source: “Campus Law Enforcement, 2004-05,” U.S. Justice Department, Bureau of Justice Statistics, February 2008
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