As the world heightens its security, the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) Police Department has been actively seeking to implement the most effective ways to expand the university safety net.
Law enforcement officials will use the latest technology to add another layer of protection to ensure the safety of students on campus. In October, LiveSafe, a mobile crime watch app was implemented. LiveSafe will officially launch in January. It allows students to anonymously report crime in the area, request safety escorts, and chat with police officials in an emergency.
“I want students to have peace of mind about their safety on this campus. We want our students to have all the necessary tools in order to be safe,” said FAMU Police Chief Terence Calloway.
Paired with LiveSafe is FAMU’s student escort team (SET). The team’s work will coincide with SafeRide, an app students can use to request an escort from SET to drive them to their destination. The GPS setting allows users and their friends to watch each other and chat through the app to make sure friends reach their destinations safely.
Chief Calloway’s priority is to ensure that students feel safe on campus, which in turn increases the University’s retention rate.
“We [also] noticed our students were struggling academically due to financial issues,” said Calloway. “Not only is FAMU PD offering a safer perspective on campus, but contributing to the employment of students, leading to better academic results.”
Escort services are available 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. to pick up and drop off students at various locations on campus. As a result, FAMU PD has seen a reduction in robberies and assaults.
“We want to give students and parents relief in knowing the University is taking an initiative to provide a safer campus,” said Calloway.
FAMU PD is also offering active shooter training and is the only historically Black college or university (HBCU) to have an active shooter video that was developed in-house.
Kristina Anderson, a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting, is part of a larger team that created LiveSafe to alert students during emergencies. The app is free and available on iOS and Android devices.
FAMU PD is adding to the protective shield in several ways:
- FAMU has welcomed its first K9, beginning training in January.
- Driver’s license plates now serve as decals. Cameras on police vehicles can decipher registered and unregistered plates through the University’s database.
- Kiosks are now replacing parking meters; drivers can register their car and pay cash or pay electronically for meter space and parking tickets.
- Social Sentinel, social media intelligence software, will monitor students’ social media accounts through keyword tracking, with hopes of intercepting a crisis before it happens.
Information on SET, parking services, and FAMU’s active shooter video can be found on FAMU’s Department of Campus Safety & Security website at: http://www.famu.edu/index.cfm?PublicSafety.