U security enhanced by technology

by Robert Koch

Most businesses and many homes these days have alarm systems and motion detectors to keep intruders out.
But what is a large public University to do with its dozens of buildings, thousands of employees and even more students, many of whom work or study at the oddest hours?
University Police, Facilities Management staff, instructors, students and technology combine efforts to keep the right people in and the wrong people out of campus buildings. Generally, they succeed.
“I thinks it runs well,” said Ruthann Manlet, Facilities Management shift supervisor for the West Bank, commenting on her area. “I think it’s a good balance.”
Keycard security
Facilities Management uses traditional keys, electronic card readers and alarms to limit building access to authorized people.
Whereas older buildings rely mainly on keys, new and renovated structures such as Morrill, Murphy, Ford and Peters halls, as well as the Andersen Library, use U-Card readers outside their entrances.
Authorized students and staff simply swipe their U-Cards to enter these buildings. Construction standards now mandate new campus buildings have two external card-controlled entrances.
Tim Witzmann, facility support access supervisor, said 40 University buildings now use “controlled-access systems.” Approximately 420 doors across campus are “hardwired” and “centrally administered,” meaning entries and departures are electronically recorded.
Double security
Because of its extensive archives, the recently opened Andersen Library on the West Bank uses electronic security both inside and out.
In addition to the U-Card readers outside the building, a secondary card reader system controls doors inside the library. Like the external system, it also assigns different users different access levels.
“There’s several levels of security,” said Judy Swanson, building manager for the library. “Even during the day, for most of the doors, you need to have card access.”
Security monitors help
Over 100 security monitors trained and employed by University Police are responsible for patrolling campus buildings and grounds and providing escort service.
Kent Amdahl works as a monitor in and around the Carlson School of Management. The microbiology sophomore works from 4:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
Like most West Bank buildings, the Carlson School locks its outside doors at 11 p.m. Security monitors conduct sweeps and close tunnel entrances. People remaining inside the building should be prepared to explain themselves.
“Some of the students have card access to this building,” Amdahl said. “They’re graduate students, and they have to show me proper identification if they’re going to stay in this building after hours.”
Still, Amdahl sometimes encounters transients, particularity during the winter months. He said he asks them to leave, calling police if there is a problem.

Robert Koch covers police and courts and welcomes comments at [email protected]