East Central College will upgrade its surveillance program at its main campus in Union over the summer.
The college board of trustees approved a $239,400 purchase from Fenton-based security company Tyco Integrated Securities Inc. at its Wednesday, June 14, meeting.
The college will have a total of 117 cameras and a brand new surveillance system as part of the upgrade. All old cameras will be replaced in the transition, which ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer said he hopes will be finished before the fall semester begins.
Additionally, all of the cameras purchased will provide high definition live feeds and surveillance recordings.
Bauer said the cameras will be completely paid for by the school’s security fee. The $4 per credit hour security fee was implemented at the beginning of fall 2017 and only applies to students who attend classes on the Union campus.
“I think it’s our obligation to provide the safest environment for students, employees and visitors,” Bauer said. “That’s why we moved in the direction we did to have Union police on campus.
“This (the camera upgrade) is just one more tool. Obviously, you hope you never have to use it. But with being both realistic and responsible, it’s important to have all the tools available to you.”
He added that the cameras would be on a different level of quality from what ECC’s current cameras offer. Better resolution, zoom and recording capabilities are among the benefits.
Bauer cited a past incident when a stolen car was left in the campus parking lot. He said the footage captured by the old camera system was deemed unusable by the Union police due to the quality of the resolution.
Trustee Cookie Hays said the upgrade in quantity is a plus. She said in the past the amount of cameras and their locations had presented problems.
“I know that has been an issue,” she said. We never quite had them where we needed them.”
The system ECC is adopting from Tyco is the same program Union police use for the Union R-XI School Disrict and at the city’s parks. The system will allow Union police to remotely access ECC cameras.
“This system will give us immediate intelligence when officers are responding to a hostile intruder event, or any other major event, on campus,” said Union Chief of Police Norman Brune. “Improving security at all of our schools in Union remains a major objective of the Union Police Department.”
Two Union police officers already patrol the Union campus and have half their salary paid by the college. The department also has a police substation on campus.
The new program also will support remote lockdown of the building and license plate readers, if the college chooses to purchase the additional hardware.