Carleton University spends $1.6 million to improve security on campus
OTTAWA, Ontario—Over the last 18 months, officials here at Carleton University have been making drastic improvements to the security program, said Len Boudreault, director of university safety at Carleton University.
The initial push for these improvements was a direct result of a violent student assault in 2007 and the subsequent security audit that followed. Based on the recommendations from the audit, as well as survey results from students, staff and the surrounding community, Carleton determined it needed to improve its campus security.
The university invested more than $1.6 million in security improvements, including the installation of an emergency mass notification system, expansion of its video surveillance system, improved lighting, an increase in the number of assistance phones, a new card access program in all the residence areas, as well as an increase in security personnel.
Boudreault said that many of these technologies have been integrated together. For example, when an assistance phone is activated, the accompanying camera begins streaming video directly to dispatchers for improved situational awareness. Boudreault said the university will continue to expand its CCTV system by installing cameras in resident areas and major student gathering areas.
The emergency notification system, which will be unveiled next week, is a three-tiered system that notifies students and staff via email, phone and text message. When the system is activated, any desktop computer registered with the university will freeze, display the emergency message and will not unlock until the department lifts the notice. The next phase of this project will be to include laptops and other computers logged onto the WiFi network, said Boudreault.
Boudreault said the department has been fortunate when it comes to funding these projects. Following the recommendations from the audit “there was an immediate response from the administration and finance department to put the resources in place to assist security and make the necessary changes and improvements,” he said.
In addition to technology and physical security improvements, the department continues to make a concerted effort to reach out to students. One of the most effective methods has been the creation of an auxiliary special constable program, which gives students legal and regulatory enforcement powers on par with peace officers.
“By having them in our department, we know have peer education and students talking to students,” he said. “That’s part of reaching out to students and listening and hearing what they have to say and a method of communication that also allows us to send our message the other way.” Auxiliary special constables work 20 hours a week in addition to being full-time students. Boudreault also said the department has created a Facebook page and is constantly looking for new ways to connect with the student body.