Students, faculty and staff at Wright State’s Dayton Campus are able to call university police at the touch of a button, text officers from their smartphones and have guardians virtually follow them across campus until they safely reach their destination with a safety app for smartphones.
Introduced to campus last fall, the Raider Guardian safety app is like putting a blue light phone in the palm of your hand, campus administrators say.
“It is a free app for smartphones that provides a number of new tools for the university as far as being safe on campus and feeling safer on campus,” said Chief Dave Finnie with the Wright State Police Department.
One key feature of the app includes a two-push panic button that connects users to Wright State police dispatch. Users can also choose an instant 911 button that calls off-campus 911 dispatch centers.
If users would rather send text messages, they can text Wright State police with tips or concerns instead of having to call. Texters can also send images that can be helpful.
“For example, if they see graffiti or other vandalism on campus they might text that photo to police so the responding officer knows what they need to be looking for,” said Finnie. “The texting function of this app is so important because it is such a common way for people to communicate on a day-to-day basis. They’re texting already, so let’s provide them a way to talk to our Police Department that way.”
Users may also find the safety timer feature to be a helpful tool.
The namesake feature of the app offers users an ability to select a “guardian” from their contacts or the university Police Department. Guardians follow users virtually to their destination. Users engage the safety timer when they leave and turn it off when they arrive at their destination safely. If they don’t turn off their safety timer before it expires, then their guardian is notified with a message to check on the user.
“We hope that most of these expired timers will be instances where they forgot to shut their timer off when they reached their destination, but in case there is an emergency, then there is this safety feature built in where the guardian can actually follow up,” said Finnie.
Raider Guardian is also ADA compliant, so users who are disabled will be able to add it to their smartphones and tablets too. Users with flip phones can still use the app by texting with police as well.
“This is just one of the many safety items that Wright State University provides to increase the safety across campus. It’s about providing tools that our community is more apt to use and are more accessible to use too,” said Finnie.
The app is not available for Lake Campus.