BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Major technology upgrades are underway to improve campus security for students at Louisiana State University (LSU). The school is investing millions of dollars into lights, cameras, and safety technology.
Starting with the “LSU Shield” app. Students can chat with emergency officials to report an incident and to remain anonymous.
“It allows for anonymous texting. It allows for live chat. They can speak directly with our dispatchers here at LSU PD so that they can report crime. Maybe they’re not comfortable being associated with it, but they want somebody to know about it,” said Marshall Walters, Interim Chief of Police at LSU.
The institution is also working on license plate readers. In addition to the 1,700 security cameras that are already on campus.
“I think it’s another level of security for us to know who’s coming and going from campus,” said Walters.
LSU is also investing in a “Blue Light” call box system. It’s commonly used on many campuses across the country.
“Incorporated in those call boxes will also be additional cameras. So would to add another layer of protection to our camera platform. And then we also speakers. Those speakers will also be used to broadcast an audio emergency message across campus,” said Michael Antoine, Associate VP for Camera Safety.
Antoine says students can directly connect with LSU police dispatch with the push of a button.
“We want to have as many aspects or many things in place as we possibly can to ensure we can get the right people to the students at the right time,” said Antoine.
Another major upgrade, $4 million is being put toward improving light fixtures around campus.
“The area is lit and the subject matter is lit. You’re going to be able to see it better on a camera. And so camera technology has changed as well. The new cameras are up, pick up a lot of light now. And so they do go hand in hand,” said Dennis Mitchell, Campus Landscape Architect.
Mitchell says they’re halfway through phase two of this initiative.
A new Emergency Operations Center has been restructured to meet national standards for extreme weather and emergency situations.
“We listen to what the students are saying and we listen to staff and we’re always keeping our heads out looking for this,” said Mitchell.
The school says they offer “run, hide, fight” training courses and educational resources for students.
LSU has 50 commissioned police officers on staff aside from Tiger Patrol. Antoine says the goal is to expand the community around the university to form a “security district”.
As far as the blue lights, LSU campus safety officials say they’re in the process of finding a vendor to install the system. Antoine says about 50 to 60 call boxes will be installed during phase one of the project.
However, for the light fixtures, Mitchell says they’re halfway through phase two of this initiative. Phase three will be complete by April 2024.