Additional Phones Bring Safety

University of Central Oklahoma’s Safety and Transportation Services has installed seven new outdoor emergency phones, which are expected to be in service later this week.

The outdoor emergency phones have a blue light on top, which are visible during both daytime and night time. Students can push the button to call UCO Police in case of emergency or if they need assistance.

“With all of our many methods, we want to create opportunities for [students] to reach us, and for us to reach them,” said Jeff Harp, UCO chief of police. “[The phone is] not only for emergencies but you can also use it if you need information on campus direction, or request a Safe Walk.”

Harp said they placed the emergency phones where they are visible and accessible for students, even for ones with wheelchair. The location of the phones include the Library, Communications, Business, Hamilton Field house, Music, Liberal Art and Math and Computer Science building.

UCO’s Safety and Transportation Service will install one more unit at the STEM building by the time construction is complete. Chief Harp said they are expecting to install two new phones by the end of this year at the Wellness Center and the housing apartments on the North of Ayers Street.

“We are constantly working to evaluate and find the budget to have more phones and fill in the gap between buildings,” he said. “We hope at some point we will have enough phones that we can see the blue light pretty much everywhere.”

Harp said the outdoor phones will be helpful after 11 p.m. when the buildings are closed. They are also more visible because the light can be seen in a far distance.

Those outdoor phones are wall-mounted and connected to electricity and network wire. The base cost of each one is $2,400 and the cost of cabling is around $600 depending on the location of each phone.

Safety and Transportation Services purchased the outdoor phones three years ago, at the same time as the indoor ones. They installed the indoor phones last year to replace the old system which was from the 1980s. UCO Student Association passed the resolution CFR18-204 last semester to give Safety and Transportation Services $10,000 to fund the outdoor rewriting.

“I noticed a lot of universities had some type of “safety boxes” on their campus, said UCOSA President Remington Dean. “This will help UCO become a safer campus and will create a sense of understanding that the University cares about the safety of its students.”

Safety and Transportation Service test both indoor and outdoor phones bi-weekly or monthly. UCO Police Services Communications Center works 24 hours a day, every day of year. Harp said when students use the outdoor phone, the communication personnel will know exactly where the students make the call.

“We will respond right away, and the time we get there will depend on the nature of situation, the geography and what our staff is doing at that time,” Harp said. “We can get there one or two minutes in case of crisis, but it may take longer if you request a safe walk.”

UCO is in the top safest campus in the nation based on the criminal data and other safety services on campus. Besides the indoor and outdoor phone, students can also install the Safety App on their phone to contact with police.

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