Troy University ramping up security efforts through ‘Omnilert’ app

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 5:53 AM CDT
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TROY, Ala. (WSFA) - For many, the hustle of a college campus is a familiar sight and with thousands of students in one space, safety is a top concern.

“You’ve got young adults that are just now venturing out into the world,” Troy University Police Officer Rachel Farmer said. “Anything can happen.”

Troy University is looking to prevent campus crime by ramping up its technology game. Alongside emergency poles, which can call the police, scattered throughout the campus, the school is now using the “Omnilert” app.

The app allows students to text an on-duty campus police officer directly. They can do so anonymously to provide law enforcement with tips in case a student witnesses suspicious activity.

“I don’t want there to be a gap where they feel like they can’t address the police or come to us if they need anything,” Farmer said.

University police are encouraging students to download the free app. In addition to messaging authorities, students can also tap a red button within “Omnilert” if they feel threatened or need aid.

“It’ll instantly call the cops,” the officer said. “It will also send out the location of that phone, so we can immediately be in route no matter what the situation is.”

Troy University Student Government Association Safety and Infrastructure Chair De’Jon Weston stepped in following concerns over whether the on-campus security poles worked. His committee found that all five of the emergency spots were operational. Still, he said the app provides additional protection.

“It makes sure that we’re able to directly connect with them [police] in a split second,” Weston said.

The student leader added that the app provides a voice to the voiceless for those perhaps too worried about calling law enforcement.

“Everyone isn’t able to publicly speak or make that phone call,” the student said. “Sometimes sending that text message will just feel that much safer.”

Police said the blue light poles are not going anywhere and that the new app is just another chance to make sure everyone is heard.

Students who wish to install the app will be prompted to enter a personalized code. Campus police said this can be accessed through a student’s account.

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