Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

January 2012

NSU Police to Offer Personal Guardian Smartphone App

 

Safety is one of the top concerns students and parents have when going away to college. Enter Personal Guardian, a new smartphone application for use at Northeastern State University.

Patti Buhl, NSU director of public safety and chief of campus police, said the Personal Guardian application for smartphones soon will be operational. Once it is downloaded and activated, the free app can call campus dispatch and track the location of the phone.

“The campus police are really excited about this app,” Buhl said. “It provides enhanced safety whether one might be in danger or wants to let campus dispatch know their location. I like to describe it as a mobile blue light phone.”

Personal Guardian is free and can be used with iPhone and Droid touch screen devices. The application features three modes: danger, follow me and check-in. Activation notifies the Tahlequah dispatch, but branch campus police will receive immediate alerts of requests from Broken Arrow and Muskogee campuses.

The danger mode requests an emergency response. It calls the campus police, sends the phone’s GPS coordinates and tracks the device until deactivated by a pass code.

App users can use the follow me mode if they are not comfortable with their environment. When activated, it notifies campus dispatch and tracks the phone using GPS for a period of time. The user may also request an officer for escort.

“Some people don’t want to bother us or they believe we are just too busy to provide safety escorts, but that is absolutely not true,” she said. “The great thing about the follow me feature is it removes any apprehension people might feel about contacting us.”

The check-in feature allows a user to notify campus dispatch of a chosen destination and anticipated travel time. Arrival at a destination is confirmed by GPS. If an arrival is overdue, the user’s designated contact persons will be notified.

“We anticipate this will be very useful to those who are having car trouble or must travel during poor weather,” Buhl said.

The Personal Guardian application is being designed by Tulsa-based Illume Mobile. More information will be shared when the application is ready for download. Launch is anticipated in the coming weeks.

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