Located at one of the busiest crossroads of America, where I-75 meets I-70, Dayton, Ohio, is a vibrant city known for its history as the home of the Wright Brothers and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force—the world’s largest and oldest military aviation museum. Nestled entirely within the Midwestern city of more than 140,000 is the University of Dayton, a top-tier Catholic research university and the largest private university in the state with almost 10,000 students and approximately 2,000 faculty and staff.
Protecting the campus, which houses almost 90 percent of the student body, are 25 full-time police department staff who patrol the area on foot and in vehicles throughout the day. These officers respond to calls and emergency situations at all hours of the day and night while also creating a face for campus security.
Over the years, while the university has advanced its educational programs, it’s also adopted a number of security features to make the urban campus safer, including stationary cameras, alarm systems, and access control systems.
However, something crucial was missing: reliable mobile cameras for the police force. With the growth of smartphones, virtually everyone on campus has a camera on their person at all times. When there’s an incident on campus and a police officer responds to a call, students are “often actively recording the officer’s activity, but the officer had no means of recording that activity,” says Randy Groesbeck, the director of administration and security for the university’s Department of Public Safety.
Most of the time not having this technology wasn’t a problem, but occasionally there would be discrepancies in how an officer reported that he acted on the scene and students’ impression of the incident. If there wasn’t visual or audio documentation of the incident, it could quickly boil down to a student’s word against an officer’s. This could lead to disciplinary actions and confusion about what really happened.
In 2013, Groesbeck began looking at technology solutions that could allow officers to easily record their interactions with the campus community. “We wanted a way to document both the video and the audio during exchanges, or interactions, between our police officers and members of the community,” he explains.
The department also wanted something that would allow video to be stored and then easily reviewed and played for court, hearings, or after-action meetings “when a question did occur about the officer’s actions, or the community member’s actions,” Groesbeck explains.