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McHenry County College receives security camera upgrade

CRYSTAL LAKE – Whether faced with a dangerous storm or potential violent threat, McHenry County College police officers can now have eyes on the situation from anywhere.

A $107,000 state grant recently awarded to the college as part of the Illinois School and Campus Safety Grant program will allow campus police officers the ability to view the college’s cameras on smart phones and tablets from remote locations.

Mike Clesceri, executive director of public safety and facilities at MCC, said all of the campus’ 60 cameras would be compatible with the new system. With only two officers on at a time, Clesceri said the new technology would allow officers to patrol the campus while still being able to tap in to videos right away if a hit-and-run is reported or other incidents than can be picked up by cameras.

“Let’s say we have a bad rain storm and we needed to access cameras to see parts of the property that could be affected,” Clesceri said. “We could do that and respond no matter where we are.”

McHenry County College was one of 448 elementary, secondary and higher education institutions to receive grant awards totaling $25 million. It was one of the few schools to receive the full amount requested. Out of 623 applicants, 72 percent received less than half of the funds requested.

Clesceri said the ability to view camera footage remotely could be most valuable if a violent threat were to ever emerge.

“Colleges have been a target of active shooters in the past. A new surveillance platform allows us to have remote access to track a suspect’s movements, which will assist in our response,” he said.

This is the second state grant the college has received for upgrading its campus safety. In 2008, the college received a $60,000 grant that helped launch its current camera system.

Clesceri said it was likely the college’s maintenance and track record with that project that allowed the department to receive full grant funding for the technology upgrade this year. He said the technology would be installed in time for the fall semester.

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