Central State upgrading campus safety

WILBERFORCE — Central State University is taking several steps to upgrade its safety and security systems on campus by adding lighting, security cameras and a new emergency alert system.

Approximately $2 million is being spent, with the largest investment going toward the installation of 460 new, state-of-the-art, high-definition video security cameras. These cameras are in addition to the 60-plus cameras already installed at the new University Student Center October 2015.

The video cameras have been placed in strategic locations around campus to monitor parking areas, residence halls, stairwells, academic buildings, corridors, and other high circulation areas. Many cameras are concealed, thus increasing the ability to monitor activity on campus. Video taken by the surveillance cameras is recorded and available to law enforcement and campus safety personnel at all times. The video quality in some areas is able to show vehicle license plate numbers and facial recognition. In addition, exterior lighting upgrades have been completed.

“This video system gives us surveillance of critical gathering places, parking lots and common areas in residence halls, and gives the Office of Public Safety points of view to react quickly to ensure student and staff safety,” said Charles Shahid, chief government officer for the university. ,Newly installed data and fiber systems, paid for with another $3 million, help to connect all campus buildings. A new 10GB fiber-optic backbone allows for the high-speed transfer of data and video across the new university network.

Central State has chosen Alertus, an emergency mass notification system, for its campus-wide alert system. Alertus sends immediate text messages to students, faculty and staff, and to audio/visual beacons that will be installed indoors and outdoors around campus. The beacons will sound alarms and give verbal instructions to persons to seek shelter in an emergency. The system also will “take over” video monitors in buildings, and computers in computer labs to provide emergency response notifications once the system is activated by emergency response buttons at campus police operations center or the City of Xenia 911 dispatch center, which covers the campus. Other universities that use Alertus include The Ohio State University, Michigan State University and the University of Virginia.

The video camera project will be completed in March. The Alertus System will be implemented fall 2018.