Georgia Piedmont Technical College announced it has been awarded $1.65 million to integrate technology that will help provide a safe learning and working environment for students and staff.
The funds are part of Georgia’s $83.5 million in COVID-19 relief funds through the Public Safety and Community Violence Reduction (PSCVRG) Grant Program. A total of 118 agencies/projects have been approved for the funding; Georgia Piedmont is the only college in the Technical College System of Georgia listed on the grant.
The three-year spending plan provided by officials with Georgia Piedmont Technical College shows the monies will be used primarily toward the installation of controlled exterior door access points, campus cameras and surveillance systems, as well as electronic license plate readers. The grant application cites spikes in violent crimes committed across college campuses nationwide, including in the community near the main GPTC campus in Clarkston.
“While we have avoided catastrophe, the Georgia Piedmont Police Department recognizes that additional mitigation techniques to deter violence on our campus will create a safer learning and working environment for our students, faculty, and staff,” said Chris Hughes, GPTC police chief. “We’re working smarter to adopt a strategy of implementing technology into our emergency response tactics.”
Many of the new security measures are already in place and will be online across all buildings on all of Georgia Piedmont campuses in the coming weeks.
“Our top priority is keeping our students and staff safe,” said Dr. Tavarez Holston, president. “Knowing this technology is in use helps provide a great sense of comfort.”
The new systems allow campus police to lock or unlock doors with the tap of an app on a phone. Prior to the new technology coming online, locking doors was a process done manually, and in an emergency situation, any delay can put lives and property at risk.
With Georgia Piedmont being a commuter campus, car break-ins, vandalism, and even motor vehicle thefts are real threats. Statistics from Flock Safety show that 70% of crimes involve a vehicle. Through the use of these cameras around campus entrance and exit points, the odds of solving crimes involving vehicles and gun violence increases exponentially.
This new technology will also allow better coordination between the GPTC Police Department and partnering law enforcement agencies.