Security has been enhanced on the campus of Fredonia State College. The new system, in use since August, includes surveillance cameras and electronic swipe cards for student identification.
"It's a wonderful system. It's been extremely helpful," said Campus Police Chief Ann Burns. "It's added more eyes for us than we ever could imagine. I think the important issue is that it has raised the bar on the level of security for students."
Doors to the residence halls are now locked all day except to qualified residents. From 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., students enter their residence hall by swiping a card at most doors. The doors are equipped with an electronic card reader so students will always have access to their own buildings only. After hours, a night desk attendant in the lobby will open the main door and sign students in and out.
With their cards, residents will have access to front, back and side doors. In the past, students have had to enter though the front lobby of their building. For visitors, there are courtesy phones provided to call residents in their rooms.
Information systems technician Joseph Baxter said each card uses an identification number that is not identifiable with a student and is not linked to the student's Social Security number. So if a card is ever lost or stolen, he said, the card cannot be used to gain other information about the student.
The cards are also used for library privileges, meal plans and other services offered by the college.
Surveillance cameras have been placed around the residence halls and in all overnight parking lots, Burns said. The cameras are linked to monitors watched by campus police at their operations center in Gregory Hall. The cameras make recordings.
Burns said the cameras are fixed at the entrances to residence halls. "It's not a camera that can pan, zoom or tilt," she said. "It's strictly in a limited lobby area where there is certainly no expectation of privacy."
The police chief said the system has aided in two arrests for vandalism and voyeurism.
Four campus police cars have also been equipped with a permanent laptop computer and a cellular phone, Burns said. Officers can now handle more sensitive situations by communicating with the dispatch center through the computer rather than by radio.