Public Safety updates dispatch center, surveillance system


The Office of Public Safety and Campus Police have updated The University’s dispatch center and camera system, but the work is not finished yet.
Director of Public Safety and Chief of Campus Police Donald Bergmann said campus police is working to put six surveillance cameras on Vine Street so dispatchers can monitor off-campus activity as well.
Bergmann said he expects the system will lead to “a noticeable decrease in criminal activity.” He said the goal is to have the system installed by Jan. 1, 2014.
The Vine Street camera feed will be accessible in the dispatch center and also available for the Scranton Police Department. The cameras will be mounted on telephone poles and will provide a 360-degree view of the surrounding area.
Dispatchers can view 23 cameras on three computer monitors in the campus police station, but a total of 130 cameras are in place across campus. Dispatchers can pan, tilt and zoom the cameras with a joystick in the office, and some cameras automatically move to show an area from various angles.
With so many cameras available, the dispatchers choose which cameras to watch based on the time of day and personal preference, Bergmann said. They focus on cameras on the perimeter of campus and in parking lots where fewer people are walking around.
Campus police has four dispatchers who provide 24-hour dispatch services. They are responsible for monitoring the cameras and responding to phone calls. They also listen to the Scranton police radio and keep records of what goes on during the shift.
The updated dispatch center has bulletproof glass to protect dispatchers. It also has a second work station that student officers can use during critical times to monitor the cameras and help the dispatcher.
Bergmann said he and campus police hope to dedicate the updated dispatch center to a University dispatcher who died unexpectedly over the summer.
“We’d like to get this dedicated to Pat Cunningham, who was here for 12 years,” the chief said.
Bergmann praised The University for providing “nothing but support” for the project and all safety matters, calling the renovations “a significant investment.”

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