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Orange Shield app offers one-touch help anywhere on Stillwater campus
By Jim Mitchell
Walking on campus while reading and texting on a smartphone is routine these days among students, and OSU Police are capitalizing on the technology involved to make one of the safest campuses in the Big 12 even safer.
“We’re inviting more OSU students, employees and visitors to download a free smartphone application (app) which makes it easier to report an emergency and help our responders get to the correct location faster,” says OSU Chief Public Safety Officer Michael Robinson, who notes the emergency call capabilities are one of several safety features available through the app, known as Orange Shield.
Once the program is opened in a smartphone, the user simply touches a 911 button that contacts the OSU police dispatcher within seconds, immediately providing the user’s location.
“When they call us using the app, we get their number and their location, both horizontally and vertically. If they’re in a multi-story building, we know if they’re on the third or the fourth floor and that’s a tremendous advantage,” explains Robinson. “It also allows us to respond more quickly at large sporting events, such as football games, where calls go directly to a command post in the stadium so we can send officers who are already present. In other words, fans with the app have immediate contact with us at the stadium.”
Additional Orange Shield functions allow users to request a “Safe Walk” that provides a public safety officer to escort them across campus or within the Greek housing community between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. There’s also “Friend Watch” for designating a group of friends to receive a notification in case the user fails to check in at a predesignated time.
Another Orange Shield feature, iReports, offers the option to report crimes by sending texts, photos and videos directly to OSU Police and any report can be made anonymously. The app even allows quick retrieval of bus schedules and a locator for buses on campus.
“An individual may provide a minimum of personal information to download the free app, but everyone has the option to add many important and possibly lifesaving details to their user profile, including medical alerts, allergy notes, photos and more that could be important for responders to know,” says OSU Police Lieutenant Anthony Gillilan.
Since the Orange Shield app was introduced in 2015, it’s been downloaded more than 5,200 times, according to Gillilan. While that’s a good start, police are hopeful that others will seriously consider the many benefits provided by the app and give it a try.
“Orange Shield represents a vast improvement over the older 911 system that still forwards all cellular calls first to the Stillwater Police Department to determine jurisdiction and on to OSU Police when appropriate,” Gillilan says. “Orange Shield uses ‘geofencing’ to locate a call and ‘call location identification’ to contact the closest law enforcement agency and speed response time.”
Supplied by 911 Cellular, the Orange Shield app was designed and branded especially for OSU and underwent extensive testing on campus before it was introduced. The combination of GPS (global positioning systems) and Wi-Fi (wireless network capabilities) on a user’s phone makes the app especially accurate, helping safety officers reliably determine — within feet — the exact location of an emergency call.
The OSU Police Department has answered 335 emergency calls since the inception of Orange Shield. During that same time, it also responded to 166 iReports.
The Orange Shield app can be downloaded online from Google Play Apps for Androids, or from App Store Downloads on iTunes for iPhones.
More stories like this are available for members of the OSU Alumni Association.STATE magazine is a benefit of membership in the OSU Alumni Association. To join or update your membership go to orangeconnection.org/join or call 405-744-5368
Uploaded on September 1, 2016