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VSUPD explains the $100,000 safety protocol change

VSUPD has found a better way to get a bang for their buck with the new Blazer Guardian app that replaces and serves the same purpose as the original call boxes located around campus to assist with student safety.

Chief of Police, Officer Alan Rowe says the decisions in removing the call boxes started in 2016 due to most of them being out in the weather and needing a significant amount of maintenance and being required to physically check them once a week.

“There were about 158 of them (call boxes) at the time and the 158 phone lines were almost $100,000 a year,” said Rowe. “Between phone line service, manpower cost and the maintenance issues coming up, we kind of figured if there was a better way to invest this money.”

The Blazer Guardian app helps students communicate their whereabouts to family members and VSUPD, includes virtual escorts, allows students to send anonymous tips and has a panic button for emergency assistance.

“If you push that call box button and I know where you are but for some reason you need to leave from there– now when you do it with the app, I have your phone’s GPS location and if you relocate, I can know where you’re at,” Rowe said.

VSU students have mixed opinions on the efficiency of VSUPD’s decision to use the app over the call boxes.

Senior communications major, Kelsie Dodd says she has noticed the podiums but this is her first time hearing about the app.

“I think both the app and podium existing together would be useful,” said Dodd.

“I think just having the app is limiting because what if something happens to your phone during an emergency on campus? The podiums eliminated that problem by being a physical entity that people could access,” said Dodd.

Kyle Stevenson, a senior interdisciplinary major says he wishes VSUPD would have showcased the app more.

“I did not know the safety podiums existed, but an app would work better,” Stevenson said.

VSUPD has had significant cost savings due to the decrease in phone lines.

“We just felt like it was a much better use of that money than the outdated technology at the call boxes,” said Rowe. “The biggest catalyst was the maintenance issues.”

A handful of free standing call boxes still remain across campus located at both parking decks where VSU has frequent guests that may not have the app. In addition, some call boxes around campus are now only used for security surveillance.

More information on the Blazer Guardian App can be found on the VSU Website

 

Written by Kayla Pool, Staff Reporter. Photo by Jenna Arnold, News Editor. 

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