By Sawyer Cornelius
Salisbury University and local law enforcement partner with 911 Cellular in the operating of a new emergency app, 911 Shield. Although in the works for many months, recent and documented assaults over the past several weeks involving SU students have brought the app’s timely launch, in addition to safety measures still to come.
The free smartphone app introduced in October connects students and faculty to local emergency centers. Once 911 Shield is installed, it can detect an individual’s location if they are found within the boundaries of the SU campus.
It is then shared in order to provide greater efficiency in locating and solving a safety issue if one were to arise. If the app is opened during an emergency situation the user simply needs to press, “Get Help.” If no further action is taken after five seconds, assistance is automatically summoned and collected app information is forwarded to recognized first responders.
SU Student Government Association President Julia Howell shared her thoughts regarding the progress in campus safety. “We’re excited about this new app,” Howell said. “I think it’s a great measure of security that even if there isn’t a problem, it’s a feeling of comfort that students can have stepping onto campus, especially freshmen who are new to college life in general.”
The app also includes several other features, including quick access to Salisbury University’s crime beat police report, shuttle service and Saferide information at any given moment. In addition, users can create a profile with health and other personal information to be shared with the nearest emergency center if a call is engaged.
Friend Watch is one of the most attractive features of the app. It enables a peer-to-peer safety check that allows users to set a designated group loaded with customizable notifications if one or more users fail to check in after a predetermined length of time. Sophomore Megan Miller commended SU for their diligence in assuring strict campus security and safety.
“Not only does [the app] have all of the benefits of tracking and alerting authorities, but it can potentially cut down on the amount of assaults over time,” Miller said. “If an attacker knows students are equipped with the app, they are less likely to commit an unlawful act due to greater risk of arrest.”
Salisbury University Police strongly urge the campus community to download the app in order to increase safety efficiency and provide greater information to reduce future threats. This is not meant to replace standard 9-1-1 procedures. When an emergency or life-saving matter evolves, students are still asked to dial 9-1-1.
SU police officer Chris Shockley commented on the advantages of the app in an interview with local media. “When they call into us, we get a lot more personal information that you normally wouldn’t have on a 9-1-1 call,” Shockley said. “We get the caller’s name and how they registered. You’ll get their personal information and location here on campus.” The 9-1-1 Shield app is available for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play marketplace.