High-tech cameras bring eagle eyes to Rocky Top

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KNOXVILLE (WVLT) - The University of Tennessee isn't satisfied with Neyland Stadium being ranked among the best in the nation, because they also want the 102,000 seat facility be the leader in crowd security.

Over the off season, the university received a $125,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security. With the money they have installed a new, real time surveillance system inside the stadium. Now during each game, the state of the art cameras will be watching the crowds both inside and out.

"It's going to be a great thing for us and we look for it to be very useful," said Captain Jeff Severs of the University of Tennessee Police Department.

For 87 years, all security at the games was conducted using only eyes and ears. The new cameras have changed that and will almost certainly provide a great deal of assistance to the nearly 300 law enforcement officials who are called to duty for each game.

"With this being our first year, we will learn a lot," said Capt. Severs.

The cameras still aren’t completely operational, but according to campus officials, the whole system will be up and running with one day to spare.

"The fine tuning we've asked for will be complete by Friday,” said Bryan Browning, a UT business manager.

When they finally come online, police don’t plan on using the technology to track down smokers or drinkers inside the stadium. Instead, they will look for traffic problems, fights and purse snatchings. The cameras will also be used to monitor the nearly 400 boats that float up and down the Tennessee River on game day.

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