The police department, in cooperation with the information technology division, ensures that best practices are followed for all cameras installed, according to the policy.

Private industry has used surveillance systems for a long time, said Tech police Maj. Kevin Foust, assistant director for campus security.

Almost any store—from the grocery to the local Dick’s retailer—uses video surveillance to prevent and prosecute crimes and protect shoppers. Now universities are installing them, too.

Eventually, the goal is to “get as much coverage on campus as possible in the public areas,” Foust said.

X7 Systems not only will install the cameras and networking equipment but also is helping university officials analyze the best places to put them. Some of those areas will include the Drillfield, parking lots, and other public areas.

Law and policy restrict the areas where the cameras can be used, and with tighter controls and a centralized system, privacy will be better protected, Foust said.

The cameras may be placed only in areas where the public has no reasonable expectation of privacy, including parking garages and lots, sidewalks, and other public areas.

There are many places where cameras may not be placed, including the hallways inside dormitories, which are considered residences, Foust said.

Decisions on where to put the cameras will be made in consultation with the university’s legal team, Foust said.

The cameras are expected to help police by providing evidence in case of crimes, as well as basic security.

Foust said such as system would have been useful on Aug. 4, when middle school visitors to campus reported seeing a man with a gun near Dietrick Dining Hall. No one carrying a gun was found, although police searched for hours.

Foust said having high-quality security camera footage allows police to enlist the help of the public in combating security threats.

Copyright (c) 2012, The Roanoke Times (Roanoke, Va.). Visit The Roanoke Times online at Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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