As Castleton University has just begun its spring semester, the school has also just launched a safety-focused mobile app. In fact, the app is so new that none of the students Local 22 & Local 44 News spoke with on campus Thursday had even heard of it yet. “Last semester, we changed vendors for our emergency alert system, and they were providing this feature as an add-on,” Castleton director of marketing and communications James Lambert said.
The app can be used to place a phone call to Castleton Public Safety. It can send an emergency alert to an officer on duty, who would follow up on the alert by making contact with the sender. The app can also prompt the department to send two different types of check-in alerts. If the alerts don’t receive a response within an allotted amount of time, an officer would make contact.
Castleton has seen two examples within the last year of how valuable the app might be. Last April, the campus was on alert after a nursing faculty member reportedly made specific, credible threats of violence against her own colleagues. The Town of Castleton Police would later close their investigation of the matter without pressing charges. Then, in October, a man who was not a Castleton student was arrested on an allegation that he entered a student’s bed in an on-campus dormitory uninvited and refused to leave.
“Well, the app wasn’t a response to any particular incident,” Lambert said. “Our public safety department is always looking for ways that they can increase the comfort and safety of our students, and this opportunity came up.”
The app also will not replace any existing protective measures. “We still have our blue light system; we just invested in upgrading that,” Lambert said. “You can call Public Safety; we still have 24/7 public safety coverage. This is just an additional feature for the comfort and safety of our campus community.”
Castleton director of public safety Keith Molinari was unavailable for an interview late Thursday.