UCF Police Chief Carl Metzger announced that UCF Parking Services will prohibit back-in parking beginning July 1 at the SGA Senate meeting Thursday.
“This will be an extra set of eyes for us to know who is coming in and out of campus, and that is very important,” Metzger said at the meeting in the Live Oak Ballroom.
Parking Services will use license plate readers to scan tags in all garages and lots. Students must pull forward into all parking spaces, so the license plate is visible to one of the two Parking Services vehicles that will be scanning the tag.
The scanners will compare the license plate number to the list of students with valid parking permits, and it will fine those without one. Students who back-in will be at risk of receiving a parking citation. The cost of the fine has not been decided on yet, according to Parking Services.
“As [Parking Services vehicles] are cruising through a parking garage or parking lot, the license plate reader will pick up that number and will determine whether or not that vehicle belongs there,” Metzger said.
The Parking Services use of the license plate readers will not be run by UCFPD, but if the reader catches a tag on the department’s hotlist then it will notify the UCFPD dispatch center.
UCFPD’s hotlist is a nationwide database that includes a list of vehicles that have been stolen, involved in a criminal offense or is owned by a person of concern, such as a person suspected of planning to commit crimes. People on probation will not be on the list.
Parking Services will be moving toward getting rid of all decals and solely using this new parking system. According to Metzger, the change will be coming soon, but there is no specific time frame yet.
In addition to the Parking Services vehicles, license plate readers have been placed at all six entrances and exits of the campus and inside Garage B. UCFPD will consider installing readers in other garages if the Garage B readers are successful, Metzger said.
After working on the program for four years, UCFPD has begun the testing phase of the readers in the some locations to make sure the system is working properly. UCFPD will have an official rollout before the start of fall, once the system is ready.
The readers, created by Vigilant Solutions, will scan cars coming in and out of campus and compare them to the hotlist. Cities and counties across the U.S. using the Vigilant readers, including Orange County, will have access to the hotlist database.
The scanners will only collect the license plate number, the owners name and the make and model of the vehicle. The data collected by UCFPD will be stored for up to one year.
“The sole purpose of this system is to prevent crime and investigate crime,” Metzger said. “Period.”
SGA Senator Michael O’Blenis, has previously shared concerns about the privacy of students but felt more comfortable after Metzger’s presentation.
“I will give Chief Metzger the benefit of the doubt,” O’Blenis said. “I will take his word as his bond.”
SGA Student Body President Kyler Gray is confident the license plate readers will be safe and will not violate the privacy of students.
“I share the same sentiment and concern with my students about privacy and confidentiality. But after my conversations with the chief, I can tell you that I am very much confident in UCFPD,” Gray said. “They are going to spearhead this perfectly and efficiently. Students should not be worried about their privacy.”
Gray and the rest of the SGA Senators plan on meeting with UCF Parking Services and coordinating with UCFPD to inform students before the implementation of the readers.