The Missouri S&T University Police Department is continuing to support the students and staff of the university through their use of new surveillance technology. Doug Roberts, Chief of Police for the Missouri S&T Police Department said the new cameras located around campus are helping them not only by acting as a deterrent for crimes, but by additionally serving as an information source for officers.

“This year we’ve installed several different new security cameras around campus…” Chief Roberts said, adding that the cameras “either prevent crimes from happening or assist us when we’re investigating them.”

The department currently has over 40 cameras installed in key points around the campus, which send a constant feed to the department’s office. The footage from these cameras can be accessed from the Chief’s office as well as the main control room, with a large monitor mounted to show the entire campus.

Chief Roberts showed how he can access the camera’s from his cell phone, allowing him to monitor the campus while in meetings or when he is occupied with other duties. The technology effectively allows him and other officers to be on patrol at all times. Chief Roberts said this technology goes hand in hand with the university’s new Rave Guardian app in helping students become more in tune with the campus police department.

“We’ve given students a way to interact with our department by text and by phone,” he said. “But now we’re watching them too. So if they’re engaged with us and there’s a problem on campus, they can call us, we can zoom in on an image and see what’s going on in that area. We can give the officers that are responding real world info and give them directions to be safe.”

Chief Roberts said the cameras have already proven their worth in solving bicycle thefts on campus.

“There’s bikes that get stolen because it’s a crime of opportunity…” he said, giving the example of a bike they recovered on Monday, August 21. Once the department received a report of a stolen bike, Chief Roberts said they were able to pull the footage and see the suspect along with the bike, which was registered as a student bike with he university.

“We ended up identifying the suspect because of our surveillance cameras and captured him and the bike,” Chief Roberts said. “We saw two people going towards Thomas Jefferson Hall, one riding a bike and one not, and then two people, one pushing a bike and one riding a bike coming back. We were able to identify that bike as a student bike.”

Chief Roberts said they are looking to install more cameras by the end of the school year to further enhance their ability to monitor the campus, and even provide ways to communicate with students from a distance in the next phase of this new installation.

“Pretty soon we’re going to be putting speakers in the tunnels so we can communicate with people…if somebody’s hurt or if we something suspicious, we can tell them law enforcement is on their way.”

The cameras currently in place record for about 386 days, according to Chief Roberts. Placing more cameras in the future will decrease the available memory, but Chief Roberts said the standard for memory is typically around 30 days, so they exceeding that by a significant amount. This footage is also shared with the City of Rolla Police Department as well.

“It’s the best technology out there right now,” Chief Roberts said. “We’ve done a lot of research.” The cameras also create notifications in the office for movement at night, and when someone is loitering in an area, bringing suspicious activity to officers’ attention.

“This is how we’re going to prevent those bike thefts, this is how we’re going to investigate thefts that are reported,” Chief Roberts said. “This has already proven it’s value.” He added they are not relying on yesterday’s technology, and are striving to use state of the art equipment to improve campus living.

Chief Roberts said they are looking at bids to implement the next phase of the installation, and will have a plan for further implementation soon.