Photo by Josh Sandler

The Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) is planning to begin construction and renovations to be made to the departments building on Hemphill Avenue.

“What we’re trying to do is make a more efficient use of the space that we have. The department has grown tremendously in the last couple of years … so we’re having to adapt our building to better use our space and one of those methods that we’re doing is building a whole new operations center,” said GTPD Crime Prevention Officer Preston Moss, the main lead for this project.

The construction of the new operations center means that GTPD will be discontinuing their current system with their dispatch center, which involves monitoring surveillance, taking calls and dispatching them to officers in the field. They will instead be putting all dispatch equipment and personnel in a more isolated and secured location to avoid public disturbances.

“We plan on expanding our surveillance campus wide [to enhance] current surveillance methods … we’re looking at adding a lot of new fixed surveillance cameras at key locations around campus and all of those feeds will come back to this new operations center,” Moss said.

In addition to the surveillance and radio equipment they have now, the operations center will have a large display wall mounted where dispatchers will be able to operate surveillance nodes in real time from their workstations. This feature will allow for dispatchers to pull up displays of events officers are responding to around campus and give them a chance to better relay information to other officers in the field, which will increase efficiency and consolidate a lot of systems into one location.

“Of course with any change we have a lot of anticipation about it, we’re excited about it. I think this will give us an opportunity to really become more technically savvy and it will allow us to actually review incidents in real time…If you have a chemical spill or an officer out on a traffic stop and it gets kind of violent, we can possibly pull that incident up and actually see it and relay that information out to other officers in the field,” said Walter Warner, GTPD Communication Supervisor.

Construction and renovations are planned to start by the end of April and finished by the end of July. Officer Moss assured that the transition would be seamless and not hinder GTPD’s performance in the meanwhile.

“I definitely think this will be a huge boost for the overall safety of the campus community and students, faculty and staff will definitely reap the benefits of that,” Moss said.