With 26,000 students, give or take a few hundred, attending classes on the Blue Raider campus this fall, plus a few more thousand faculty and staff on hand, MTSU Police Chief Buddy Peaster looks for every viable option to help his force protect what is in reality a small city within a city.
A critical tool in protecting the campus is the ability to share information quickly and efficiently, thus alerting the campus community to safety threats and to inform residents how to protect themselves.
The Rave Emergency Notification System has served this purpose well, providing timely email alerts to all current MTSU students, faculty and staff for weather warnings and other emergency situations that may occur on or near campus. Text and/or voicemail options are available as well.
Two recent upgrades to the service hold promise for those wanting extra layers of protection on campus. The MTSU Guardian and Rave Eyewitness products are now “live” via MTSU Dispatch, and Peaster wants to spread the word about these free services to encourage people to take advantage of them.
“We are constantly striving to improve our services and to do more to keep people safe on our campus,” Peaster said. “I believe that MTSU Guardian and Rave Eyewitness are tremendously powerful tools that add considerably to those efforts.”
According to Peaster, MTSU Guardian will allow users who are walking across campus to access a Rave site with their cell phones and input their on-campus destination. If users fail to notify the Rave application that they’ve arrived safely at their predetermined location, Rave will ask users to confirm that they’re safe.
If there is no confirmation, MTSU Police are notified that a particular user has not confirmed that he/she has safely reached a particular place on campus. Rave also will send campus police a general location of the user’s cell phone, based on GPS tracking.
MTSU employees and students can now log into their accounts and add information to their Guardian profiles. Once updated, each user receives instructions on how to use Guardian. Each user’s profile information also will pop up on the MTSU dispatcher’s screen when a user sends an immediate activation to police or uses the Guardian timer and the timer expires.
Rave’s Eyewitness offers broader use to the campus community. Anyone, whether they have a Rave account or not, can use Eyewitness, a text-messaging service that allows anyone to text MTSU’s Department of Public Safety any type of message.
“Rave Eyewitness allows users to confidentially text Public Safety information about any concerns, crimes, situations, people, etc.,” Peaster said. “Since our Dispatch Center is open 24/7, we will always have someone available to text back and forth with users, so they can report ongoing situations as well as report on past problems or other areas of concern.”
Users must type the Eyewitness short code, 67283, then enter the keyword “mttip” (which is not case-sensitive) at the beginning of each message, followed by a space. The person can then type the rest of the message and send it to police. Every message sent is automatically saved, and while Eyewitness is confidential, it is not anonymous.
Outreach efforts will continue to spread the word to the Blue Raider campus and beyond. For more information about MTSU’s emergency alert services, visit www.mtsu.edu/alert4u.
— Jimmy Hart (Jimmy.Hart@mtsu.edu)