LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Texas Tech University announced Thursday it will install a series of security cameras in strategic, undisclosed locations across its campus. Officials tell KCBD it's part of an ongoing initiative improving campus safety and not in response to any emergency situations in 2017.
"This was a project that the President's Office has been behind, the Student Government Association and it's been an ongoing project prior to the recent events," Texas Tech University Police Department Chief Kyle Bonath said.
When discussing the new measures, students on TTU's campus Thursday tell KCBD brought up those recent events.
"I know recently we've gotten the scares with the [officer] shooting and potential bomb threat and so it makes you a little bit more aware because you tend to let it slip to the back of your mind and when something like that happens then it's pushed to the forefront," Junior Brenda McGovern said. "I think it's a good move on Texas Tech's part to add an extra, preventative measure or measure to help catch or apprehend someone that did do something."
"I think that any measure to make people feel more safe is going to be something that's going to be a big, positive aspect to the campus," Senior Eli Harper said. "There have been some issues this past semester, as well, so improving safety, I'm all about that."
Chief Bonath said safety and security is always an ongoing project and now is the time to create a more automated way to improve campus safety. While there are security cameras now on parts of the campus, these additional cameras are set to completely cover the University.
"When you come onto campus there are license plate readers," Bonath said. "The hope would be, we have a pretty good coverage right now, but we could blanket the University. If anyone came on [campus] and did anything illegal or harmful, we would be able to look back and see where they came on campus, how they came on campus. The license plate readers would be another advent of that, cameras are another aspect of that. We're just trying to do as much automating as we can to save cost in the long term instead of adding additional personnel when we can do things in an automated fashion. It would be a benefit of the University."
Bonath says cameras are a more reliable way of solving and preventing crime. He says they will be placed in areas prioritized by foot and vehicle traffic as well as past crime trouble.
Right now, the university is testing newly installed cameras. Bonath tells KCBD the police department has more unified control of the cameras but they will not be monitored "live" unless an event or threat calls for it.
"The [cameras] we have announced today are just the start," Bonath said. "There are going to be a lot more and it's going to be an ongoing project from this point forward."