Castleton University Bolsters Public Safety with Smartphone App

Castleton University is unveiling a smartphone app to provide a new layer of safety for faculty, staff, and students. 

The Castleton Safety App, created by Everbridge, will provide a direct line to Public Safety for any registered member of the Castleton community. 

"This is a proactive effort in maintaining student safety. Colleges are beginning to move to apps for safety communication," said Keith Molinari, director of public safety. "Using an app is another way for students to communicate with Public Safety and one that nearly all of our students are familiar with." 

The app offers users four functions: 

  • Check-in  Using the Check-In feature gives Public Safety the user's current whereabouts. This creates a record of their last known location. During an emergency, Public Safety can also send out a check-in alert. In this event, registered users receive a notification asking them to check-in. Public Safety can create a list of those who fail to check-in and make contact with those people individually. 
  • SOS – This feature sends an emergency alert to the Public Safety officer on duty. The officer can then make contact and assess the person’s needs. When this feature is activated, the user's phone automatically begins to record audio and video for the next two minutes. 
  • Safe Corridor – The Safe Corridor feature provides a virtual escort. A user can activate this feature and then set an interval to "check-in." Once activated, the system begins to record their walk. If the user fails to enter their code in the allotted time interval, the SOS feature is activated automatically, and a Public Safety officer will make contact. 
  • Emergency Call – Activating this feature places a call to Public Safety.  

The University will continue to maintain its blue light phone system in addition to the app. Blue light systems are phones placed in a variety of locations on campus for emergency calls.  

"The app adds another level of communication with Public Safety," Molinari said. "When you use a blue light, you are stuck at that location. With the app, you can be located more easily because it is more dynamic." 

At the start of the fall semester, Castleton also rolled out a new public alert system, called Castleton Alerts powered by Everbridge. Castleton Alerts delivers a campus-wide message via text message, email, and voicemail to all registered users.