Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) The UWSP at Marshfield campus will be getting a security upgrade in response to an incident that occurred in December.
On Dec. 17, Marshfield police responded to a report of a disoriented male with what appeared to be a handgun in his pocket who had asked students for directions. It was later learned that the male was simply lost and had gloves sticking out of his jacket pocket, rather than a weapon.
“Because of the December incident there were a lot of concerns from the main campus about the safety and security on our Marshfield campus,” said Donna Rozar, chair of the University Commission, during a presentation to the Finance, Budget, and Personnel Committee on Tuesday.
“The problem was is that there are some cameras on campus, but those cameras did not work,” said Brian Panzer, facilities and operations director. “We didn’t have functioning cameras to give law enforcement the details about that incident in December, which then raised the red flags about having some working cameras.”
Panzer said the 10 existing cameras are old technology that became inoperable when the computer operating system changed when Marshfield campus became a branch of UW-Stevens Point as part of University of Wisconsin restructuring in 2018.
“Of those 10 cameras, there were 5 of them that did operate at times but it was sketchy. It was outdated technology,” he said.
UW-Stevens Point presented a plan to the University Commission for high-resolution, web-based cameras with 24-hour surveillance to be monitored at the main campus by University police.
Members of the university police performed a walk-through of the Marshfield campus and determined 30-35 cameras would be needed. Upon a second walkthrough, 48 cameras were proposed for the most extensive coverage but after further discussion, UWSP police and the Commission determined that 32 cameras would be adequate for safety and security.
In the future, additional cameras could be added to the system, said Panzer. “The police chief from the UW-Stevens Point main campus, their technical advisor, and their IT people are very comfortable with 32 cameras at this point,” he said. The cameras will be activated by motion sensor.
UW-Stevens Point will provide $42,800 to purchase the cameras, licenses, and cabling needed to upgrade. “There was surplus money that was found from UW Colleges, so we appealed to the people in Stevens Point to utilize some of that money for safety and security,” said Rozar.
With the change in the project scope, the annual operating budget dropped from $10,000 to $6,700, a cost to be split evenly between the City of Marshfield and Wood County.
The presentation was for information only and no vote was taken at the Committee meeting. Wood County will also be presented with the request.