KNOXVILLE — Officials from the Tennessee Department of Safety and the state and federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) joined officials from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on Wednesday to announce a $196,000 DHS grant for the purchase and installation of additional closed-circuit security cameras at Neyland Stadium.
“We were very pleased to learn that we had received the grant,” Brian Browning, UT Knoxville director of administrative and support services, said. “This is really the third phase of our ongoing efforts to increase the safety and security measures in the stadium and throughout campus. Once the new cameras are online, emergency officials will have even more capacity to protect game-day visitors both inside and outside the stadium, and to monitor traffic problems elsewhere on campus.”
Gloria Graham, chief of the UT Police Department, said the system helps law enforcement stay in closer contact during game day.
“Security on game days is a multi-agency effort,” Graham said. “This integrated system helps our officers get where they need to be, and gives the entire team a greater situational awareness. It’s a big positive for us.”
Following the announcement, officials toured the stadium’s emergency command post to see how the cameras work. Video signals from security cameras come together in the emergency command post.
The command post is also where the university’s new text messaging system is monitored during football games. The system allows fans to request immediate assistance from event management and security personnel through a text message.
From a personal cell phone, fans can text the location and details pertaining to an incident, including the section, row and seat number, to 69050. The texting fan receives acknowledgement of the message, and stadium staff, security or emergency personnel are alerted and respond. Standard text messaging rates apply, based on the provider.
Browning said the university anticipates the installation of the additional cameras to begin later this fall.
The grant is part of Homeland Security’s “Buffer Zone Protection Program,” which helps increase the preparedness capabilities of buildings and installations identified as national critical infrastructure assets. This latest addition will bring the overall closed-circuit security monitor investment to more than $500,000, funded in large part by this and similar grant programs, Browning said.