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Kinnick to get more security cameras

BY MADISON BENNETT | MAY 13, 2011 7:20 AM

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University of Iowa public-safety officials are planning to add more surveillance cameras to Kinnick Stadium.

But they're still determining how many to add, where they would be placed, and when to add them.

The cameras should enhance safety and security at the stadium, said Charles Green, the assistant vice president for the UI police.

"When you have that many people in a confined area — and you know we have more than 70,000 people — we just want to make sure that if there's anything that would cause a problem for the spectators or for the game, that we could zero in on that as quickly as possible," Green said.

The stadium has had cameras since 2006, but officials declined to say how many there are or where they're located.

Adding security cameras has been a growing trend among educational institutions as more schools across the country seek a way to monitor public activity as well as deter impropriety, said Ronald Stephens, the executive director of the National School Safety Center in Westlake Village, Calif.

"Cameras really have dual roles," he said. "One role in prevention and the other in assisting in the apprehension of criminal activity."

The camera in Kinnick Stadium would serve more as a means of monitoring activity than of prevention, Green said.

UI officials would use different types of security cameras. Some cameras would be fixed; others would be able to point, tilt, and zoom.

There will also be two options in viewing footage — live monitoring and recording the images. The UI would use both in moderation, Green said.

"If you have 20 or 50 screens up there, you really can't pay attention to everything," he said. "An elephant could walk by, and you wouldn't see it."

UI junior Ryan Will said that as long as cameras wouldn't be an effort to patrol drinking, the extra surveillance could be helpful, especially with crime.

"If something bad were to happen, it might be nice to have it on tape," he said.

But as a Hawkeye football-game attendee, UI sophomore Briana McNeal said she thinks adding cameras would have little point.

"I've never really seen any problems," she said. "People are there more to have fun at the game rather than cause trouble."

Plans are still in the beginning stages, but officials hope they could implement the cameras by the first home football game this fall.

Depending on how much aid the UI receives from the Department of Homeland Security, the cost of the plan roughly ranges from $30,000 to $100,000 and would not require hiring additional officers.

Officials with Homeland Security visited Kinnick Stadium during last year's football season and officials in numerous departments are making changes based on that assessment, which will affect game days this fall. Exact plans are still in the works.

Though it's a fine line between supervision and what Stephens calls "snoopervision," he said, surveillance is often appropriate, especially in sports facilities.

"If you're an a public space don't expect privacy," he said.


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