Chief of Police Bill McBride is puzzled and frankly a little disappointed.
He’s put up flyers, had stories in the GReport and the Daily Update, had senior leaders deliver the message to their units, and he even sent out a clever email with the Batman logo, yet fewer than 500 people have downloaded the free RAVE Guardian app.
In a crisis, this app could make all the difference.
A personal safety application for smartphones, it gives individuals the ability to instantly summon help. When you pull it up on your phone, it gives you one-button access to 911 or GRU police, and that one button also sends out your location.
“When you push that button, it sends an audible alert to my 24-hour dispatcher and also pops up on a computer map that shows within about three meters where you’re standing,” McBride said. “For me, from the safety and security perspective, we think it’s a lot better use of our resources than trying to put random blue towers in places where people won’t use them.”
Those blue-topped emergency phone towers that are still scattered around the Summerville Campus are expensive, impractical, and according to McBride, they’ve never been used to report an emergency.
“This app is kind of like having that blue tower in your pocket,” McBride said. “Now, nobody’s going to have to walk 200 yards to hit a blue tower phone when they can just whip out their cell.”
GRU also uses GR Alert, a mass notification system that sends messages, including texts, to students, faculty, and staff in emergencies. While that is a notification system, RAVE Guardian is like a personal hotline to help.
Other features include a trip alert feature, where the user can configure the app to notify specific people if they don’t check in at a certain time, making that 10-minute walk through the dark campus not quite as lonely.
Of course, none of that matters if you haven’t downloaded the app.