Following Up: Eye in the Sky

Checking in on surveillance cameras put up last semester by the COS Police.

Camera Located On Hospital Rock Building.

Bobby Garcia

Camera Located On Hospital Rock Building.

Melodie AubinElliot, A&E Editor

Last semester cameras were placed throughout the College of the Sequoias Visalia campus and parking lots. They are not hidden and would be obvious to someone who was looking.  The cameras were put up following a series of break-ins and string of arson attacks plaguing the 2018 summer and fall semesters.

“Over the past several years, cameras have been discussed in a variety of situations.” COS Chief of police Kevin Mizner said, “Usually the question, “Do we have cameras?” comes up when victims are reporting the crime.  ”

 The main goal of the cameras is to provide an investigative tool to look at criminal incidents, such as thefts, to determine a time frame and identify a suspect. The cameras were installed by a local company, American Business machines (ABM). They are now installing cameras on the Hanford and Tulare campuses as a second phase of the project. Camera installers tried to cover the main foot routes in and out of the campus, as well as the quad.  Camera coverage also extends to some, but not all, of the parking lots. 

  The Visalia campus design, purchase and installation totaled $87,001.74 in 2018.  The second phase for Hanford and Tulare, with a small modification to Visalia, totaled $92,169.71 in 2019.   The total cameras for each campus will be 86 in Visalia, 35 in Tulare and 37 in Hanford.   

Since becoming operational in January, the cameras have aided in the solving of several criminal cases.  Crimes such as bike thefts, burglaries, a cart theft, and hit/runs in the parking lots were all caught on film and used to find the perpetrators.  In fact, the same person who was doing the break-ins last summer was caught breaking-in again and was taken him into custody.  

Typical incidents do not usually involve students rather non-students who come onto campus to commit crimes.  Mizner believes that students are the direct beneficiaries of having the cameras. 

“Cameras have been really a great asset for the campus and have helped us solve a number of criminal cases by being able to identify suspects through the surveillance video.” Mizner said.

The cameras are not actively monitored but are always up and running.  Should an incident occur, officers are able to bring up the cameras on their phones or in car computers to assist with their response.