BHC removes callboxes

By Dillon Piekarsky
Senior Copy Editor

Illustration by Sophia Espinosa
Illustration by Sophia Espinosa

Wild animals, scenic greenery, avid runners and casual dog-walkers – these are all commonplace for the Brookhaven College jogging trail. What has been removed are the outdated emergency callboxes.The Dallas County Community College District as a whole is phasing out the once-numerous emergency callboxes in the district, and the Brookhaven campus is already well into this process. Feb. 26 was the last day the emergency telephones were in service, but they stood disconnected for months afterward.

Over the summer, they were removed from the campus entirely. When the callboxes were standing and functional, a student or jogger in an emergency situation could press the red button on the box to connect with a police dispatcher. Brookhaven police said they encourage people who use jogging trails, sports fields or the parking lots to have their cellphones with them at all times. But not everyone has access to a cell phone in the event of an emergency situation. On May 28, there was an attempted purse snatching in which the alleged suspect took the cellphone from the victim’s hand and smashed it against the concrete beneath her. He then tried to steal her purse but was unsuccessful. She was unharmed. According to the Brookhaven Police Department, the callboxes were never used to report an emergency or situation for which the public has been trained to call 911.

The callboxes have been used to report non-emergency situations, including the incident in which a jogger discovered a long-dead suicide victim in a wooded area on campus in July 2012. According to the Brookhaven website, the callboxes were outdated and designed for an era before cell phones. The Brookhaven Police also said people can download a 911 app available from the DCCCD website to ensure persistent contact with the police. Alternatively, readers can program the Brookhaven dispatch number, 972-860-4290, directly into their phones.