Campus / News / Security Camera Debate / January 21, 2010

Video cameras to debut on campus

The Knox College campus will soon have security video cameras. They will be positioned around the perimeter with a few inside campus grounds.

“I just said, ‘Let’s do it’,” said President Roger Taylor. At a senior staff meeting on Tuesday, Taylor decided the school would follow through with plans for the security cameras. Currently, the security cameras are projected to cost $75,000.

“I just jumped the gun and said I hereby authorize $75,000 to spend for video cameras.”

Taylor said he would rather use the money for other things such as student research or Wallace Lounge.

Prior to the meeting on Tuesday, Campus Safety Directory John Schlaf, Dean of Students Xavier Romano and Dean of Finances Tom Axtell had been working together on a plan and proposal for security cameras around campus. The armed robbery on campus last Thursday was a factor in the reason why Taylor decided to expedite the process.

“Ordinarily, we like to have a discussion on campus [before decisions are made],” said Taylor. “It’s sad we have to do it.”

At Thursday’s Student Senate meeting, Schlaf will be available to answer questions and participate in a discussion about the cameras. This project is considered a capital project, which means it usually would have gone through more discussions in the senior staff meeting, however, Taylor felt it was a necessary decision that needed to be made quickly.

“Sadly, we live in an age where there are some mixed-up people,” said Taylor. “My opinion is that video cameras have some deterrent value.”

In addition to deterring potential crime, Taylor said security cameras could also help apprehend criminals who escape the initial crime scene. If the video cameras catch criminals, Taylor feels others may think twice before attacking students on and around campus.

While the cameras will be recording around campus, Taylor said that catching students using illicit substances is not a priority and they will not be watching for such things.

“Students being assaulted by individuals with guns is my concern,” said Taylor.

Taylor, a 1963 graduate, does not recall having issues with campus safety during his time as a student. In fact, he did not even remember having campus safety officers and felt he could roam the Galesburg streets at any time of day.

However, Taylor said that today security cameras are not uncommon, especially in cities such as Chicago. Apart from deterring potential crimes on campus, Taylor does not feel the cameras will have an impact on the relationship between Knox and Galesburg.

While definite plans are not solidified for the cameras, as far as Taylor is concerned, “We’re getting them.”

Laura Miller

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