SIU partners with technology to secure campus

SIU partners with technology to secure campus
By: Arnold Wyrick
CARBONDALE, Ill. - SIU students are issued a small piece of plastic as one of their school supplies. The small key ring accessories, called key fobs, track who goes where and when on the SIU campus.
"Each of those key fobs is assigned in our computer system as an individual person. We can limit those people on what facilities they can get into, what time of day they can get into them and even limit what days of the week they can get in," said Associate Director Brad Dillard of SIU Facilities. "We can also track that information so at any point in time we can see who's accessed a certain facility, what doors, at what time of the day."
If that's not enough, in most cases the university has recorded a visual picture of who enters at the same time the key fob is used. "We have 242 cameras across campus that are all networked into our facility here at the physical plant as well as networked into our department of public safety," said Dillard.
SIU students have come to know the tiny cameras watching them 24-7. Some say, they're comforted to know if something happens, it'll be caught on tape--or rather, digital video recorder. "Just in case someone else does come in or does anything, I know that there are cameras and it makes me feel safer," said Freshman Porscha Mazique.
"I would feel safer if I knew somebody was watching attentively," said Junior Lauren Wyatt. "But I know a lot of time, no one's paying attention to the monitors."
There's no way anyone could watch 242 cameras all at once, but Dillard says it doesn't mean the cameras don't assist in sending help when a crime is committed. "When they are notified of an incident in progress, (the Department of Public safety) has the ability when they have an officer dispatched to the scene en route, they have the ability  in a lot of cases now to look in live and give the officer updates on what's going on before he even arrives," said Dillard.
Dillard says SIU security will continue to evolve as technology improves, but student safety will always remain the top priority.