Public Safety Goes Mobile With New App

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Public Safety Goes Mobile With New App

The new security app released by Public Safety allows students to contact the Public Safety office quickly and discreetly. Christian Wiloejo/The Ram

The new security app released by Public Safety allows students to contact the Public Safety office quickly and discreetly. Christian Wiloejo/The Ram

The new security app released by Public Safety allows students to contact the Public Safety office quickly and discreetly. Christian Wiloejo/The Ram

The new security app released by Public Safety allows students to contact the Public Safety office quickly and discreetly. Christian Wiloejo/The Ram

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The new security app released by Public Safety allows students to contact the Public Safety office quickly and discreetly. Christian Wiloejo/The Ram

The new security app released by Public Safety allows students to contact the Public Safety office quickly and discreetly. Christian Wiloejo/The Ram

By Maria Pappas

With the release of the Fordham Safety Application, the Fordham community now has a new method for contacting Public Safety. This app, available in the App Store and via Google Play, was announced via a school-wide email on Monday, Oct. 27. According to Ronald Mercandetti, head of technology and special projects for Public Safety, the app has been in the works for about three and a half months.

Students have multiple options for contacting Public Safety through the app. They can choose to type their own message send a predefined message, or hold down a blue button for urgent assistance. The app alerts are sent to an iPad located in the Public Safety offices, and include the location of the sender.

Public Safety can then respond to the call as quickly as possible. However, John Carroll, associate vice president of Public Safety, states that the app is not the most efficient way of communicating with the office.

“All we care about is the safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff,” said Carroll, “and the best way to ensure that is for you to pick up the phone and call [Public Safety].”

By calling, officials can ask where you are and what you need in a more efficient manner. “It saves us so much time — if you need an ambulance, we can dispatch it right there,” says Carroll.

The app does not allow such back-and-forth communication. “It’s a one-way text from the person who has it on their phone to security,” says Mercandetti. Although Public Safety cannot send a text in response, they do have the capability to call the sender if such a situation were to arise.

Carroll believes that the app will be helpful for several reasons, the first being that students are more likely to text than pick up the phone.

The second reason is that “if you were ever in a situation where someone was following you or they were close to you and you were fearful and you just couldn’t call us, for whatever myriad of reasons, this is certainly another way for you to reach us.”

This is not the first time that Public Safety has released an app. The Trans-loc app, is also available in the App Store. It alerts students as to where the campus vans are located as they travel around campus. It was developed so that students would utilize campus vans more. “I don’t see that much more use of the van…[it’s] another resource that we put out for our students that I don’t think they fully utilized,” says Carroll.

Yet, Carroll is hopeful about the use of the new security app. “I think it gives [students] another…way to reach us in a serious emergency. And, we want to be there for you,” he said.

Shannon Yawman, FCRH ’18, echoed Carroll’s hopefulness, saying, “I’m still going to be incredibly cautious [off-campus], but I think that [the app] definitely gives me another layer of security that makes me a little more comfortable.” She also states that she would definitely use the app.

“Hopefully it will head off some serious incidents,” said Mercandetti, “and if students out on the street or in the community feel unsafe for justifiable reasons, they reach out to us and we respond to them before anything happens.”