Campuses to get a security system upgrade, more cameras installed

Image courtesy of Dallas College

Image courtesy of Dallas College

BY HARRIET RAMOS, Editor in Chief

Six Dallas College campuses, including Eastfield, are getting upgrades on their security camera system, and Eastfield will be getting parking lot cameras for the first time.

Police Lt. Keith Clicque, who is in charge of the Dallas College public safety system, said the money for the project came from the general funds, and the project on all campuses is expected to be done by the end of 2021.

According to Clicque, the security upgrades for Eastfield will cost about $1.7 million.

Eastfield previously had 140 cameras. Now those cameras are being upgraded, and Clicque said about 350 additional cameras are being installed throughout campus and in the parking lots. According to Clicque, Eastfield has never had cameras in the parking lot before.

“The board’s given us a lot of support to make sure we get those upgrades so our students feel safer and we’re able to respond to emergencies a lot better,” Clicque said.

Clicque said these upgrades are a result of a security survey taken five years ago when Dallas College Police Chief Lauretta Hill joined the department.

“The goal of the program was to provide general coverage of the entire campus while being good stewards of the public’s money,” Clicque said.

According to Clicque, the access control system on exterior doors is also being upgraded so all doors can be locked from a central location. The campus police department, the central dispatch center downtown and a handful of administrators would be able to initiate a lockdown in case of emergency.

Dominick Taylor, an engineering major who is in his second year at Eastfield, said he has always felt safe coming to campus and knowing there are more cameras now adds to that sense of security. He said the presence of the campus police also helps him to feel safe.

“I see a lot of … campus police walking around,” Taylor said. “And it’s open so you can see around you a lot. It’s not like confined spaces.”

For the month of September, the Eastfield crime log reported one theft of less than $100, three thefts between $750 and $2,500 and one theft between $100 and $750. All cases were marked as closed.

Adam Qualkenbush, Eastfield’s facility manager, said the exterior lighting also needs an upgrade, but that probably won’t happen until the next fiscal year.

Some of the exterior lights don’t come on when they should, and Qualkenbush said they are controlled by an old system, parts of which date back to when Eastfield started in 1970.

“These are finicky time clocks,” Qualkenbush said. “We’re literally working on [the system] every day, and then we check it at night and we have to adjust it until we get it right.”

In the meantime, if someone notices one of the exterior lights is off, Qualkenbush said they could call campus police if it is late at night. There is also an option under SharePoint for employees to submit a work order for facilities management.