CampusShield App and campus safety initiatives

Olivia Shackleton, Campus Editor

Campus safety initiatives have been in progress since spring 2019. Student Government Senator Erin Ahern ‘21, Executive Vice President of Student Government Madeline Tobolewski ‘20 and Chief of Police Brian Hurd embarked on a five-year campus safety plan by researching safety initiative options.

The group discussed implementing a dual system that included a mix of blue lights and a campus safety app. Last semester, Ahern researched various apps that could provide security to John Carroll students. She found the CampusShield App to be the most cost effective while offering a variety of features.

“The primary feature is the emergency button. This button connects right to the police department, so the police department would get a signal right on their computers saying there was an emergency call, and then it would have a location linked to it, too. So, it would link to JCUPD for us,” Ahern said.

Ahern believes that this feature will be helpful to students during emergencies when speaking on the phone may be dangerous. “If there is an intruder and you don’t want them to hear you, this is a great option because you don’t have to talk and you can just press a button,” Ahern said. “It is also good because you don’t even have to unlock your phone to press the emergency button.”

The app also allows users to leave anonymous tips to the police. Ahern explained, “If you want to send a tip to the police but don’t want your name attached to it for any reason [you can do that in the app.]  You can send a tip to the police and it will show the location and you can add text, but it will not include any identifying information.”

Additionally, the app offers a Friend Watch feature. “Let’s say you are walking home or to your car late at night and you are alone and worried. You can send your location to a friend and have a timer set, and if the timer goes off before you tell them you are safe, it will notify the friend and the friend can call the police,” Ahern said.

Ahern stated that the app is not very expensive. “It is free [for students] to download, but three dollars per student to implement,” she said.

Although the CampusShield App comes at a low cost, Ahern expressed that it has almost all of the features more expensive apps have. “From my research, this app had basically all the features for a very inexpensive price compared to other apps.”

A concern raised by Hurd is that students would have to actively download it on their phones, so the issue of the lack of students opting in may arise. Ahern responded to this concern, “I think we would have to market it very well. I don’t know exactly how we would go about it, but we would definitely need to market it well, so students knew about it.”

Ahern said a next step is sending out a campus-wide survey to see if students wanted the app, and, if they do, where the money to fund the app would come from.