- Associated Press - Sunday, April 19, 2015

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - The University of Hawaii at Hilo is taking steps to improve safety on campus that will include doubling the number of security cameras, according to its new security department director.

Darrell D. Mayfield took over as director in August. The security overhaul will include a new incident reporting and tracking software system and an emergency operations center building that’s under construction, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald (https://bit.ly/1JWpIex) reported.

The Hawaii Legislature is considering a funding request for UH-Hilo to hire staff for its own security force instead of continued use of a contractor.

Mayfield formerly worked as security manager at Texas A&M; University.

Changes began before he arrived. A more than $5 million campuswide data network improvement project will support a new video surveillance system and blue-light call stations. The project began in May and will be completed next month.

“We’re in the process of upgrading our cameras and video surveillance system,” Mayfield said earlier this month. “There’ll be over 200 cameras on the campus after that. … We’ll have a room set up for two officers with video screens on the walls.”

More cameras will allow security officers to respond more quickly and accurately if they have more information, Mayfield said.

“Maybe once or twice a month we’ll have something where we’ll want to go back and look at some tape and see if we happened to catch something on there,” he said. “Video cameras aren’t going to stop crime. They only really benefit evidence after.”

Cameras will be added to external areas of the campus such as “parking lots, walkways, large gathering areas and that kind of thing,” he said.

The $5.8 million Campus Security and Emergency Operations Center is scheduled to be finished in October.

Hilo is the last campus in the University of Hawaii System to be using a private contractor to supply security, said UH-Hilo university relations director Jerry Chang.

The Legislature is discussing a $3 million request in funding for the UH system to upgrade campus security, including the addition of 37 security staff members for UH-Hilo.

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Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/

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