State University of New York - at Oswego                            
Security Camera Usage Policy 

PDF icon suny_oswego_cctv_policy_2014.pdf


The purpose of this order is to provide guidance and establish parameters restricting the use of electronic surveillance and recording of public and restricted areas for the purpose of safety and security.  SUNY Oswego respects the privacy of the college community members and is sensitive to balancing that privacy with safety needs on campus. Cameras extend the protection of University Police, even when officers are not in an immediate area.  Cameras are not a guarantee of safety, but are a tool that assists University Police.  Cameras protect campus community members from dangers by serving as deterrents and expediting investigations.


This policy applies to all SUNY Oswego personnel in the use of college authorized security cameras and their video monitoring and recording systems to include public webcams. SUNY Oswego reserves the right to place cameras on campus where necessary and appropriate.  Cameras will be limited to uses that do not violate the reasonable expectation of privacy as defined by law. When appropriate, the cameras may be placed campus-wide, inside and outside buildings.  Final approval of camera locations will be determined by the Chief of University Police and SUNY Oswego President.  


The following guidelines apply to the placement of cameras on campus:  

1.    The Chief of University Police in conjunction with the Security Systems Management Team, and the SUNY Oswego President, shall determine placement and use of CCTV cameras.  The placement and use shall also conform to applicable Federal and New York State Laws.

2.    This policy does not apply to covert cameras used by University Police for criminal surveillance as governed by New York Penal Law.

3.    CCTV cameras may not be established in private areas of the campus without obtaining a valid warrant and only subject to Section II above.  Private areas include residence hall rooms, bathrooms, shower areas, locker and changing rooms, areas where a reasonable person might change clothes.  Additionally, private offices, rooms for medical, physical, or mental therapy or treatment are also considered private as well as entrances, exits, lobbies, exam rooms and hallways of the Mary Walker Health Center.  The only exceptions are cameras used narrowly to protect money, documents, supplies or pharmaceuticals from theft, destruction, or tampering.

4.    Cameras shall not be directed or zoomed into the windows of any private residential space or office.  To the maximum extent possible, electronic shielding will be placed in the camera so that the camera does not have the capability to look into or through windows.

5.    Cameras shall not be directed or zoomed into the windows of any private building not on College property.


1.    Cameras shall be used exclusively for campus safety and security purposes.  SUNY Oswego University Police has jurisdiction of the recordings and will evaluate and authorize any release and use of the recordings.

2.    Cameras will not be used to monitor individual students, faculty, or staff, except as necessary for a criminal investigation and except as in accordance with the terms of a valid warrant.

3.    Prior to releasing the recordings or images, the face and identifying features of all those persons not of interest to the investigation will be blurred.

4.    The College will not use cameras to prosecute violations, including parking rules, unless review of a formal complaint results in a determination that a campus safety or security issue exists.    

V.        WEBCAM USAGE   

1.    Request for webcam placement and usage should be directed to the SUNY Oswego Security Systems Management Team for approval.

a.    The installation of a public webcam needs to be coordinated with CTS after approval.

2.    The department or unit requesting the installation of the webcam is responsible for all labor and materials costs associated with the installation, maintenance, and replacement of the cams.

3.    The webcam is to be placed in public view, not hidden or concealed in any way. The requesting entity must make sure the placement does not violate any applicable law or campus policies.

4.    Any viewing, placement or recording of images from a public webcam is subject to Section III.4 and Section III.5 above.    


Includes, but are not limited to, the following:

1.    Safety and Security of students, faculty and staff.

2.    Protection of buildings and property.

3.    Building perimeter, entrances and exits, lobbies and corridors, elevators, receiving docks, special storage areas, laboratories, cashier locations, transit stops, parking lots, public (enclosed and unenclosed) streets, shopping areas, exterior public areas, etc.

4.    Monitoring and recording of access control systems.

5.    Monitoring and recording restricted access transactions at entrances to buildings and other areas.

6.    Criminal investigation.

7.    Robbery, burglary, and theft surveillance.

8.    Protection of pedestrians.         


1.    Images and recordings may only be monitored by University Police personnel or other designated persons authorized by Chief of University Police and the SUNY Oswego President.

2.    No students may be hired to monitor recordings or images.

3.    If the University Police in conjunction with the SUNY Oswego President believes it is necessary to aid in an investigation or search, short recordings or image stills may be released to the media or the public. Prior to releasing the recordings or images, the face and identifying features of all those persons not of interest to the investigation will be blurred.

4.    All personnel approved for monitoring will receive training in effective, legal and ethical use of the monitoring equipment. They will receive a copy of this policy and provide written acknowledgement that they have read and understand this policy and will receive any and all updates or amendments to this policy.

5.    A list of all authorized personnel will remain with the University Police Department.    


1.    Recordings will be stored in a manner consistent with available technology and transported in a manner that preserves security. Current and archived recordings shall be kept locked and secured.

2.    Release of any and all portions of recordings is subject to Section IV above.

3.    Current and archived recordings under review by authorized officials shall be subject to a process where the specifically requested recording dates and times are logged in a record maintained by the University Police Department to include

a.    date and time of recording

b.    name and contact information of person requesting the data

c.    reason for requesting the data

d.    approval signature of authorized University Police personnel authorizing the release of the data.

4.    No attempt shall ever be made to alter any recording, except for blurring faces of persons not of interest to the investigation. Original recordings, not released, shall remain unedited.  Editing or otherwise altering recordings or still images, except to enhance quality for investigative purposes or blur features as described above, is not permitted.

5.    The length of time to store data from the cameras is detailed in Addendum "I" attached to proposal.    


1.    Any person who tampers with or destroys a camera or any part of the electronic surveillance system may be prosecuted in the criminal justice system as well as the campus judicial system.     

Security Camera Usage Policy - Addendum I - Section VIII

The length of time we will store recorded footage has been set at 30 days.  This is considered industry standard and would meet any requirements University Police can foresee as being needed.  Length of storage time may be modified to meet hardware requirements as needed as long as the amount of stored video continues to meet the needs of the campus for investigations.