Rumors have flown about the emergency call stations located throughout campus. Ideas like press the red emergency button and keep running or the cameras only turn on once the button is pressed are a few known rumors circulating, but Joshua McMillian, chief of Public Safety, is looking to set the record straight.
“You use it when you need emergency services, and it should be treated as such,” McMillian said. The emergency call stations are tall, red poles with a blue light shining on top. It was designed with students in mind.
“They want you to be able to stand anywhere on campus and see a blue light,” McMillian said. The blue light, though, doesn’t serve as just a beacon for emergencies. “You treat it as you would when you want to call 911,” McMillian said.
Dispatching 911 for personal health problems, a stalker, or a car burglary are a few examples of proper times to signal for law enforcement, fire or emergency medical services (EMS). Upon pushing the button, Public Safety is alerted to the location the call came in from. Each emergency call station has a unique phone number and address, and responders report right to where the call came from.
The call stations are also outfitted with a camera that is on 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and recording video 24 hours a
day, seven days a week. Should a student be forced to walk away from the call station in an emergency, the video recording allows officers to track direction, state of well being, and potentially record the identity of a suspect.
Public Safety is now working to get smaller call boxes wired onto buildings around campus. M Street, the Brown building and Caraway are three of five buildings already outfitted with the technology.
The boxes have two buttons, one red and one black. The black button is for non-emergency calls and will dispatch a Public Safety officer to the building from which the call came. The initiative aims to outfit every residence hall, as well as other buildings, on campus with emergency call boxes.