JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) Police and Public Safety Department officers announced 24 new security cameras will help keep employees, students and patients safe.

UMMC will phase out the older, larger cameras. The new cameras feature solar-powered lenses and will be trained on vehicles and their license plates.

“Say, for example, if your car is in a hit-and-run accident inside a parking garage, we’re able to then ask you what time you got here and what time you left, then eventually identify the vehicle that hit your car,” said Joshua Bromen, deputy chief of UMMC Police.

Each new camera is connected to the National Crime Information Center database, which provides information that helps law enforcement track plates of vehicles reported stolen or with switched or stolen plates, as well as missing/endangered people reports. Older cameras in use in the university’s 1,200-piece inventory of cameras are only closed-circuit TV capable and don’t have software to monitor vehicle license plates. 

“With the new cameras, we’re able to go back and look and see if any tags have been entered into NCIC and if they’ve been here at UMMC in a certain time period,” Bromen said. “And if you’re only able to tell us that a red car hit your car in one of the parking garages or if they had a ladder in the back of their truck, we can go in and search for a red car or search and see all trucks that have ladders in the back at that moment. These cameras help us build an intelligence network that helps us identify who the person is who might have hit your car.”

Hundreds of employees and students park daily in the lots around Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium, perhaps the largest area where new camera eyes are in place.

Bromen expects the new cameras to keep reports of the most commonly reported crimes to a minimum.

“You just look at the volume of people we run through here each year and the scale we operate on,” he said. “We have 10,000 employees and about 70,000 people through the emergency department each year. We know there’s lot of room for improvement, but with technology like this in place and quality training with our officers, we can get to a point where our customers can say, ‘Hey, our police department here is doing a better job.’ “

Employees and community members are encouraged to visit UMMC PD website to access the daily crime log and map listing all crimes reported on the property.