CONWAY, SC (WMBF ) – New technology is in place for a new school year, as Coastal Carolina University beefs up security leading into the new school year.
"We're responsible for 22 to 23 thousand people a day. We're like a city," explained Chief David Roper with CCU police.
However, different than a city or a county, are the calls are coming in to CCU's Public Safety Department.
"In addition to basic calls, we do escorts for students back and forth to their cars, we do lock outs," added Chief Roper.
The influx of those calls during the school year led the CCU Police Department to get its own dispatch center, to relieve the stress of dispatchers through Horry County.
"It is a brand-spanking-new, state-of-the-art center, right here in the building," said Chief Roper.
It isn't the only new security feature on campus.
"We have one of the best state-of-the-art camera systems here, located strategically throughout campus," Chief Roper said.
The police chief said at this time, there are approximately 600 cameras on campus with more being installed every day.
"We're lucky that our new buildings are being built with the capability of having cameras installed," Chief Roper said. He added that the campus is in the process of a complete overhaul to change every surveillance camera to enhanced digital systems.
"If you commit a crime on this campus, you will be caught on camera. It has helped us solve various crimes in and around Coastal," he said.
Chief Roper explained the cameras are strategically placed throughout the cameras and near the entrance and exit of the property.
"If you ride through here, if you commit a crime and then pass through, we will probably get your car on video," the chief explained, saying the car's license plate could then be traced to the owner.
While on the topic of those roadways, Chief Roper said CCU wants to re-design University Boulevard to make the main road more pedestrian-friendly. The school hopes to add crosswalks, adjust the timing of stoplights, and drop the speed limit.
"I've been told we have the biggest freshman class since Coastal started," said Chief Roper in explaining that in order to keep up with the growing class sizes, he plans to hire new officers this year.
In the meantime, police presence will increase throughout nights and weekends for the first few weeks of school.