District police roll out safety app

The Rave Guardian phone application helps police communicate with the public.

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Photo illustration by Ravin René Police, friends or family can monitor a Rave Guardian user’s location with the Safety Timers feature. In the event of an emergency, police can be dispatched to the user’s last known location; Rave Guardian has four main options: Inbox, Safety Timers, Chat and DCCCD PD Emergency.

Jacob Vaughn, Editor-in-Chief/Music Editor

The Dallas County Community College District Police Department rolled out a new smartphone application last semester in an effort to help keep people safe. The app, Rave Guardian, is a safety app that can help district police spread information throughout the district and give students, staff and faculty a quick way to contact them.

“This is an easier way to quickly get out information to our stakeholders, students, faculty, staff, et cetera, especially if it’s an emergency type of situation,” Herbert Ashford, district assistant chief of police, said.

Through the app, students, staff and faculty can receive notifications about police activities and emergency procedures. They can also send information to the police. Using the chat feature, Brookhaveans can use the app to contact district police dispatch, anonymously if they want, and send in a tip or report suspicious activity.

“A lot of people are reticent to share information,” Ashford said. This can be for a number of reasons, Ashford said, but sometimes it is because they might feel unsure about information they think they should provide to police. “They don’t want to be attached to that, so sending information anonymously helps us out as far as getting information on suspicious activity or criminal activity,” Ashford said.

Virtual escort

The app can also provide users with a virtual escort.

If a student, staff or faculty member does not feel safe walking to their car, or to their next class, they can use Rave Guardian’s Safety Timers. The user will plug in the amount of time they expect it will take to get to their next destination. Once the timer has started, the app will share the user’s location with someone they have chosen. This can be a friend or family member, or it can be the official guardian within the app.

“Because there are only so many officers – I don’t care if it’s a college, university or city, there’s always more of the public than there are officers – [the Safety Timer] is somewhat of a force multiplier,” Ashford said.

Once a user gets to their destination safely, they can turn off the safety timer. But if they do not turn it off before the timer runs out, police will try to contact them. If police do not hear back, they will dispatch officers to the user’s last known location, Ashford said.

pushing the app

One of the objectives of the recent Coffee With a Cop event on campus was to encourage students, staff and faculty to download Rave Guardian. 

“We organize this event in order to let students get to know us and the services we provide,” Cdr. Mark Lopez said. “We also like to encourage the students to download our Guardian app so they can receive all emergency alerts sent out by the police department.”

Rave Guardian is available on iOS and Android.

The rollout of the app is part of a four-phase plan DCCCD Chief of Police Lauretta Hill announced in July. 

The plan includes getting all seven campuses on the same security platform, updating to access control and security infrastructure, installing more panic buttons and finally, launching the app.

“Safety and security for our students, faculty and staff is paramount,” Hill said in a July press release. “These sweeping updates to our security are necessary for us to stay on the cutting edge of technology and make sure we’re providing a safe and secure environment for the DCCCD community.”