Smile, you are on camera

By Gabriel Nunez, Guest Writer

The new security camera system that was installed on Newman University’s campus before the start of the 2023 fall semester has been extremely valuable for the school’s security team, said Stephen Patton, head of security.

Over the summer of 2023, SGA, the Newman Board of Trustees, Residence Life, and the

ASC sisters approved a new system of security cameras around campus. The proposal was pushed by Ian Lecki, former SGA president and current director of residence life, who during his time as a student was the victim of a car burglary on campus. The new system includes 84 cameras spread evenly across campus. 

Patton describes the cameras as a security team multiplier tool. 

“It is like having multiple bodies out there,” he said. 

Patton’s office faces north between Mabee Dining Center and Sacred Heart Hall. This allows him to see the northwest part of the campus well, he said, but not the whole campus. With the new cameras, he can watch every single part of the campus from his office. 

All of the footage the cameras are picking up leads back to Patton’s computers and can also be

watched by security guards via their mobile devices. However, Patton is not the only one

monitoring the cameras, he said. They also feed into the Wichita Police Department. 

Six of these cameras are Flock cameras, which face the roads on campus. They are specially designed to track people, license plates and cars. However, these cameras are not live action cameras and can be better described as photo cameras, he said.

“The target is to capture license plate data and vehicle descriptions” said Icer Vaughn, Chief Information Officer and Operations Manager at Newman.

Car break ins have been a recurring problem for the Newman campus, Patton said. In October 2023, the first crime under Patton’s tenure was reported; a car burglary had occurred in the north residential parking lot.

Patton says that the cameras allowed him to properly investigate exactly what happened. In some cases, he says, he has even allowed crime victims to view the footage with him. 

“We were able to pinpoint what happened, identify potential suspect vehicles, potential suspects, so without those cameras, we would not have had any of that solvability,” Patton said.

Elian Sanchez, a freshman at Newman, said his car was broken into during the fall semester of

2023. While the perpetrator was never caught, Sanchez said he felt a little better knowing there were cameras watching.

“It gave me some optimism,” he said.

PHOTO: Courtesy photo, Unsplash