Virtual fence project approaches completion

By Phoebe Suy | Staff Writer

The number of cameras on Baylor’s thousand acre campus will rise to approximately 1,030 after the completion of the virtual fence project, a four-phase campus security initiative.

The project is a part of Baylor’s layered security philosophy, reinforcing the perimeter of campus with security cameras targeting areas such as portions of the Bear Trail and other high volume walk zones.

The first and second phases of the project covered Dutton and eighth Street. The third portion, covering the southern part of campus is in its final stage. The fourth phase has just begun and will cover University Parks Drive. The project will be complete in mid-September.

Director of Technical Security Bart Rosebure said the total number of cameras on campus in February 2016 was approximately 690. As of Aug. 21, Baylor campus was monitored by 999 cameras.

Baylor Department of Public Safety utilizes a variety of cameras on campus to ensure safety and security, including night vision and low LUX cameras for darker hours.

“We apply basic security philosophy around campus,” Rosebure said. “At the same time, we are students of study.”

Baylor Department of Public Safety sends personnel to conferences and studies the best practices throughout the country to get the best and most up-to-date information to be brought back and implemented on Baylor’s campus.

Campus security cameras are currently monitored inside Baylor Police Department’s dispatch. Only a few cameras are monitored at a given time, but Rosebure said future plans are to eventually have more active monitored cameras.

Although not all cameras are actively monitored for the time being, the cameras are still recording 24 hours a day every day, according to the Baylor Department of Public Safety’s website.

“We are in a constant state of strong forward lean at Baylor University, meaning we’re very aggressive, very forward thinking, very strategic with our planning,” said Mark Childers, the associate vice president of public safety and security. “We are constantly assessing and reassessing our current security posture here on campus.”

Childers retired from the U.S. Secret Service three years ago when Baylor recruited him to lead the newly formed BUDPS. Three-and-a-half years ago, Baylor’s police department, department of emergency management, parking and transportation and fire safety were independent divisions.

Rosebure’s position as director of technical security was created along with the consolidation. His division oversees Baylor’s call boxes, emergency telephones, card access system, alarm systems and camera network.

Under Childer’s management, Baylor Department of Public Safety is one entity working together to ensure Baylor campus is safe.

“We can never reach a point when we say, ‘Ah, we’ve made it,’” Childers said. We can never rest on what we did yesterday because we’ve got to earn the respect of the students, faculty, staff and community every day. That’s the way you earn it, by constantly strong forward lean.”

Rosebure said the next step for the department will be installing security cameras in parking garages and some areas in parking lots.

Baylor Department of Public Safety now has an app, BU Campus Guardian. The app transforms a smartphone into a personal safety device and makes contacting emergency services easier through call or text.