Getting Technical: Baylor’s Department of Public Safety Uses Technology to Enhance Campus Safety
Baylor DPS increases camera network, adds card access readers and locks to buildings
Media Contact: Tonya B. Hudson, 254-710-4656
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by Cerenity Austin, student newswriter, Baylor University Media and Public Relations
WACO, Texas (Sept. 25, 2019) — Baylor University’s Department of Public Safety has implemented many technical safety enhancements over the past five years that have brought best practices in technical security to campus.
One of Baylor DPS’ most visible and impactful technical enhancements has been the camera surveillance system known as the “virtual fence,” which consists of a network of surveillance cameras extending around the perimeter of the Baylor campus.
“When I first began working at Baylor in 2014, we had 650 security cameras across campus. Currently, we have surpassed 1,300,” said Mark Childers, associate vice president of Public Safety and Security at Baylor. “With that, we are constantly adding, identifying and strategically assessing areas that need cameras.”
Recently, Baylor DPS finished installing cameras inside the East Village Parking Facility as well as the Dutton Ave. Parking Garage and is currently working to add cameras inside the 8th St., 5th St. and Speight parking garages within the next two years. All the parking garages have been equipped with LED lights that provides proper lighting levels and enhances the security camera clarity at night.
“Every entry and exit to the parking garages have security cameras and each floor has multiple security cameras. Additionally, we are installing security cameras inside the elevators and stairwells of the parking garages,” said Bart Rosebure, director of technical security for Baylor DPS.
The parking garage security cameras are only one part of a comprehensive security camera system that extends beyond parking garages to entrances and exits of multiple campus buildings and other exterior locations across campus.
“On game day, we have security cameras at McLane Stadium, that provides real-time situational awareness for everything that occurs at the stadium in regards to safety and security,” Rosebure said.
Baylor DPS has launched an extensive $2.5 million project to add electronic card access readers and locks to the exterior doors of campus buildings to help further secure the safety of students, faculty and visitors.
“We want to ensure that as we are building the security program that we are working on the fundamentals of campus security by adding electronic locks on the exterior doors of buildings,” Rosebure said. “This also gives buildings the flexibility to have the exterior doors secure while also having card access for our students, faculty and staff.”
Rosebure said Baylor DPS has completed the installation of electronic locks and card readers on 25 out of 37 buildings around campus, and the project will be completed within the next year.
While electronic locks add a layer to security, it is also the responsibility of faculty, students and staff to uphold the integrity of the system.
“We all have a role in security. It is up to the Baylor community to make sure the security system can fulfill its purpose by not propping open doors,” Childers said. “Everyone who is authorized within the set times to enter a building will have access and propping open doors will compromise the safety of anyone inside these buildings.”
Baylor DPS has also implemented new technology into the Baylor University Police Department to increase their response times and help them communicate faster in the event of an emergency.
“In BUPD’s dispatch, we added new monitors for our dispatchers to be able to actively view security cameras. We have also added additional monitors to assist our dispatchers with monitoring inclement weather,” Rosebure said. “We are in the process of continually improving the technology that is available for the police department.”
As an expert in the campus safety and security field, Rosebure has helped pioneer many of the technological advances on campus today focusing on a comprehensive approach, bridging technology and best practices in public safety.
“Everything works together—whether it is the campus lighting or crime prevention through environmental design. We ensure these proactive strategies correlate with security camera coverage and includes all the elements to build a comprehensive security program,” Rosebure said. “What we are doing here at Baylor is fitting all of those pieces together and developing a model that incorporates campus safety and security best practices to give Baylor DPS the technological resources to carry out its mission of protecting the Baylor Family.”
ABOUT BAYLOR DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
The Baylor University Department of Public Safety serves as an umbrella department for the Baylor University Police Department, emergency management, fire safety, global safety and security, technical security and parking and transportation. The DPS is set on providing students, faculty and alumni with excellent security and safety through instant notification systems, extensive surveillance cameras and highly-trained staff.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.