Police Services app helps maximize safety

By Jessica Suico, News Editor

An app to help students and faculty feel safer and for police officers to respond quicker on campus has been established.

CampusShield offers a quicker option to contact Police Services or a local police department if anyone on campus is in need of help or in a crisis.

The CampusShield app features mobile campus emergency calls. If students, staff or faculty are off campus when accessing the app, it will contact 911 directly. Once students create their profile, the information will help Police Services know who is making the call and where the call originated from, in an attempt to get help there as quickly as possible.

There is also an anonymous tip button on the app where reports of safety issues or suspicious activity can be given with photos and details, without revealing to police who initiated the exchange of information.

“The top crime on campus is theft from vehicles of valuables that are left in plain sight,” Police Services Lt. Thomas Holt said. Some common ways to prevent these crimes include locking cars, and not leaving personal belongings, book bags, and electronics unattended in a vehicle — especially in the open. And by also paying attention to your surroundings.”

Director of Marketing and Design Brandy Howard said, “We went live with the app on Aug. 20 and I am working on marketing the app right now by social media, electronics and fliers around campus. We are trying to market the CampusShield app, so the students are informed (of how to get help if necessary).”

The CampusShield app cost the district $7,000 and has been in the process of getting up and running for the past several years. Police Services has been investigating a variety of ways to have access to emergency communication on campus.

Lt. Holt said the first step of this process was installing the hallway and classroom intercoms. Many are up and running for the first time this month.

“After about a year of testing the (CampusShield) app, we were ready to introduce it this fall districtwide,” Holt said. He gives credit to the business services and safety teams of CCC for their efforts to bring the app to the campus.

Middle College High School student Nathalie Farias said, “I didn’t even know about the app. I feel ways the college can inform the students about it is to have all the instructors inform their students about the app and to hang posters around campus informing us.”

Farias said she feels safe on campus, but in order to improve the perception of security, there needs to be more communication between students and Police Services, so students know who is protecting them.

“My opinion of Police Services is they don’t completely do their jobs because all I see them doing is standing, sitting, or walking around. I don’t see them interacting or communicating with students or really anyone,” Farias said.

Howard said, “This app will ensure more safety on campus.”

Other services of the CampusShield app include bus schedules and police escort requests. It also includes a FriendWatch feature, which allows users to enter the information of a friend. If a user is traveling alone or on a hike, they can set it and if they or a friend do not check in at a designated time, the app will remind them that a check in has not occurred and a connection should be made.