Campus safety in your own hands

The W rock located above the Shepherd Union building.

Weber State University is launching a new app to boost student safety on campus called Code Purple. The app boasts several features expected to help students feel safe on campus at any time of the day. The app is live and available for most mobile devices.

“The reason we developed it was to provide our campus community, of course, with further resources to keep themselves safe while they’re on campus,” Seth Cawley, WSU Police Department chief, said. He also said it can help students quickly connect with university police if needed.

The app includes many features geared toward campus safety. The safety walk allows students to be accompanied virtually by a friend. During the walk, users can report tips to the police department or use the safety button in emergencies, which will send campus police an alert with specific coordinates.

Cawley said the safety walk has already been utilized frequently by students on campus, often during students’ walks from later classes to their car.

In situations where students feel that a friend-accompanied safety walk may not be enough, there is also a safety lock feature. This will give students the opportunity to have a police department dispatcher accompany them virtually, being able to send officers at a moment’s notice.

In addition to these features, the app will also function as a campus emergency notification system.

“If there’s an emergency on campus, not only will you get the email, the text message and the phone call, you’ll get a push notification through the app that will let you know there’s an emergency on campus,” Cawley said.

Emergency alerts could include campus closure due to weather or natural conditions. The app can also notify students of a lockdown, in which case the app advises where violence is possible and where on campus to run away, find a safe place, draw blinds, turn off lights, silence cell phones, be ready to fight if necessary and don’t leave shelter until the all-clear notification arrives.

Crimes and tips can be submitted through the app as well. “They can go on there and provide a tip anonymously,” Cawley said. Pictures and videos may also be uploaded.

As the app is used and more feedback is provided, updates with new safety features will be added. Campus police welcome feedback and tips for making the app more comprehensive and campus a safer place.

In addition to the Code Purple app, WSU is urging students to participate in the Community Policing Recommendation and Service Committee.

“We are going to be inviting our campus community to join the police department,” Cawley said. “Sitting on a committee to provide the campus community with safety tips to address safety concerns from a campus perspective.”

The committee meetings will be open to students, faculty and any community members interested in furthering campus and community safety. Cawley also stated the importance of a positive relationship between the campus community and law enforcement.