A day in the life of security on a college campus

Multitude of technologies leveraged to ensure the safety of students, faculty

Examining a day in the life of a campus can reveal some fascinating aspects of the safety and operational requirements you may not have known about.  It is a well-known process to track the activities of a safety and security officer to better help them deliver vital services in an active environment. The following represents a simple timeline of potential events in a day at a typical campus.

2 a.m.

Early morning at a university in the Midwest, a vehicle breaches a staff parking entrance, the driver parks near a poorly lit loading dock and forces a service door open.  Responding security officers already had a head start when the vehicle’s license plate was not in the student, faculty, staff or contractor database and the gate camera sent an alert immediately and directly.  The video intercom at the service door also showed the door breached and the suspect vehicle with waiting accomplice still inside.  The alert campus command center operator dispatches law enforcement, which arrives immediately after campus security, apprehending the suspects.

5 a.m.

The campus day begins with the arrival of a fresh security officer shift that checks in at command.  The team reviews the last shift’s events with a quick overview of several video clips, providing the incoming safety and security officers a visual overview of the previous day’s issues and additional intelligence to keep their campus safe. The usual main entrance monitoring and screening overviews, classes let out, students returning to access controlled dormitories, evening deliveries, automated faculty escorts and the one overnight breach are reviewed in minutes using the saved and metadata video management system searches.  The team goes on their way and begins their tours and manning their posts.  All officers are equipped with tablets capable of real-time video view, alarm review, dispatched incidents and direct messaging to the local public safety answering point (PSAP) for all first responder categories.

7 a.m.

Staff, student and faculty arrival continue to build through the early morning hours, and command center operators and safety/security director are all at attention monitoring the activity. The use of 360-degree, HD network cameras achieves a panoramic view of school ingress and egress areas, with a useful overview of controlled access points, main student entry and reception. “My field-of-view has been increased tenfold,” says the safety and security director when asked about the system’s enhanced video surveillance. “If I don’t get you coming in, I’m going to get you going out.”


The campus lunch break has the usual students eating both indoors and outdoors, together with a number of activity tables on the common grounds.  Seeing that the break has just started, the command center uses the campus public address system and directs students which way to go for the lunch break’s events.  The video surveillance system confirms they’ve got the message as activity builds.

4 p.m.

The day is just about over for most of the student population. But staff, faculty and an incoming evening shift are still engaged on campus. The evening security staff prepares to review the previous day’s and shift’s events again made simple through intelligent searches and embedded applications inside the network cameras.  These “apps”, whether license plate detection, cross line detection, student activity mapping or people counting, literally turn network cameras into domain awareness sensors, relaying a steady stream of data available on demand.

The incoming security crew knows when to expect the student exit activity to decrease through the video surveillance “heat” or activity mapping tools.  They wait until after this time to conduct the shift transition to avoid any missed incidents.

8 p.m.

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