SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Local college students are helping make the streets of Shreveport safer and learning valuable skills as part of the Future Leaders of Shreveport summer internship program.

“I enjoy it,” said 18-year-old Grambling State University Student Tyler Poland. “Every day, I come in here, I’m always learning.”

Five students are spending the summer helping the city prepare the installation of about 90 camera systems around Shreveport to expand a network of video surveillance that will help police investigate and reduce crime. The crime surveillance system went live in March.

Poland plans to major in Cybersecurity. He says he applied to the program to work with the city’s IT department and help set up the Real-Time Crime Center because he wants to make a difference in his hometown.

“I just hope that I can do my job so that I can help the community out.”

Shreveport Chief Technology Officer Keith Hanson says the work these students are doing has already helped the city knock out a backlog of work that would have otherwise taken months.

“Starting out from nothing to getting to the point where they retrofitted almost 80 cameras so far, and there are only like 10 left,” says Hanson.

The students are helping set up, repair, and test cameras that will be installed around the city.

“I see them drill through metal and caulk it back up, do water tests and make sure the electricity is all working inside the internals, and when there is something broke, they open it back up, and they fix it and they get it prepped again.”

After the hardware interns finish building the cameras, IT software intern Kenneth Thomas installs the programs needed to run them and connect them to the system.

“Update it and install it and do all the things I need to. After that, I sealed it up, let it run for a little while, test it out. And after a while, I’ll be able to access it from our database map and I can see the cameras from any of the current nodes that are up and running,” Thomas explained.

“I made all of the software for it, I ran it, I test it. I did everything that went into putting this node up on this pole and making Shreveport safer.”

Leslie Moore is the city’s Internet of Things (IoT) hardware technician and also serves as the interns’ supervisor. She says she is the last set of eyes on the equipment and programming when the interns are done with their work.

“I’m glad I was given the opportunity to lead these young IT professionals in the beginning of their career and I see a bright future for them and a bright future for Shreveport as a whole,” Moore said.