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CCTV Policy

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Monitoring and Recording:
Standard Operating Procedures


The purpose of these policies and procedures is to provide guidance regarding the use of CCTV on the campus of Swarthmore College. CCTV is used to enhance security, safety and the quality of  life of the campus community by integrating the best practices of "virtual policing" with state-of-the-art technology.

The use of CCTV is a best practice and a valuable tool for crime prevention.  CCTV on Swarthmore College campus is primarily and for investigative purposes and is viewed in a passive mode.  While the Communication Center is staffed 24/7 there is no expectation that officers are actively monitoring the CCTV.  In the event that a communication officer does observe suspicious, criminal or unsafe activity they will take appropriate action and notify the on duty supervisor or senior officer.

Policy Statement:

Swarthmore College is using CCTV to monitor public areas in order to deter crime and to assist the Public Safety Department in providing for the security and safety of individuals. Any diversion of security technologies for other purposes would undermine the acceptability of these resources for critical safety goals and is therefore prohibited.

Legitimate safety and security purposes for CCTV monitoring include:

  • Protection of individuals, property and buildings;
  • Confirmation of intrusion alarms;
  • Patrol of public areas;
  • Investigation of criminal activity, especially as it relates to the safety of responding officers.

Public Safety management and supervisors along with Communication Center staff  will assure responsible and proper camera monitoring practices.

Video monitoring for security purposes will be conducted in a professional, ethical, and legal manner.

Targeted monitoring of individuals based on characteristics of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, or other protected classifications is prohibited.

Staff involved in video monitoring will be appropriately trained and supervised in the responsible use of this technology.

Information obtained through video monitoring will be used exclusively for safety, security, and law enforcement purposes. Recorded images will be stored in a secure location with access by authorized Public Safety staff only.

Video monitoring of public areas for security purposes at the college is limited to uses that do not violate the reasonable expectation of privacy. Cameras will not be used in college residence halls or health care facilities.

In most applications, interior cameras will not be monitored in real time while the building is open for use. Images will be recorded 24/7 but will only be examined in the event of a significant incident that has been brought to the attention of Public Safety.


The Public Safety Department oversees and coordinates the use of CCTV on the campus. The Director of Public Safety is responsible for authorizing CCTV monitoring for safety and security purposes.

Public Safety Department employees are responsible for the daily operation and monitoring of the camera system.

They will follow all college policies, procedures, and guidelines in the monitoring of CCTV cameras.

No staff other than Public Safety and Communication Center staff trained in the use of the CCTV system will operate cameras. Procedures:

All operators and supervisors involved in video surveillance of public areas will perform their duties in accordance with this policy.

The campus Public Safety Department will limit camera positions and views so that the captured  image will be no greater than what is available with unaided vision. Views will not violate the standard of "reasonable expectation of privacy."

The camera system will be configured to prevent camera operators tampering with or duplicating recorded information.

Recorded video may be stored for a period not to exceed 30-90 days and will then be erased, unless retained as part of a criminal investigation or court proceedings (criminal or civil), or other bona fide use as approved by the Director of Public Safety.

Video footage will be stored in a secure location with access by authorized personnel only.

Public Safety's camera control operators who view recorded video footage must do so in the presence of a supervisor to maintain the security and integrity of that video footage.

Camera control operators will be trained in the technical, legal and ethical parameters of appropriate camera use. Camera control operators will receive a copy of  this policy and provide written acknowledgment that they have read and understood  its contents.

Camera control operators will not monitor individuals based on characteristics of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, or other protected classifications.

Camera control operators will monitor activity based on suspicious behavior, not individual characteristics.

The supervisor or senior Public Safety officer on duty shall be notified immediately whenever any suspicious, criminal or life-threatening activity is observed.

Communication Officers must document all observations in detail as a CAD entry or Supplemental Report  in the ARMS program.

Quality Assurance Procedures:

The Public Safety Communications Office supervisor will provide ongoing oversight of CCTV operator activities and performance. Public Safety Department management will also conduct periodic, unscheduled reviews of the network digital recorder.

Periodically and without prior notice, management will have center monitors demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of relevant policies, procedures, and technical skills.


Each Incident that is supported or initiated by CCTV will be documented.

In the record of the incident the operator will enter:

  • That CCTV was used on the incident
  • The specific camera used
  • Any pertinent information gathered by CCTV.

Public Notice of Area Cameras:

Signs giving notice of CCTV monitoring of a public area may be posted as deemed appropriate to enhance the crime prevention value of the CCTV system.