The University of Dallas Police Department is one of the most important groups at UD. Working around the clock, UDPD tirelessly works to ensure that students, teachers and faculty are able to live and work on campus safely. No matter how chaotic life can be at UD, the police department is always ready at a moment’s notice to help those in need.
With the development of The Mall app, there are more ways than ever for students on campus to connect technologically, and UDPD isn’t falling behind. The police department is experimenting with an app of its own that could be of great use to UD’s students. Using a system called RAVE Guardian, UDPD bought an app — which Chief Russell Greene wants to call the University of Dallas App — that allows for students to not only easily contact the police department, but also access other essential services on campus. Greene stressed however that his app would not be competing with The Mall app.
“The Mall app is fabulous and I have it on my phone,” Greene said. “But it doesn’t quite do what I need unique to the PD”, he continued, meaning the University of Dallas app and the Mall App can complement each other’s distinct roles.
Students can download the app and sign in with the Irving campus’ network — a separate network for the Rome campus is also being developed — and once they’ve created an account, they are able to make emergency and non-emergency calls directly to UDPD. There are various pre-loaded options to alert the officers to the purpose of a call: categories such as “damaged property” and “injury to a person” are a few of the choices that students can pick when contacting UDPD.
Students can also access other services through the app, such as setting up an appointment at the clinic on campus, purchasing parking passes and filling out work reports. Bannerweb also feeds information to the RAVE Guardian system.
“Whatever information is in Bannerweb will be used for RAVE,” said Greene, meaning many of the essential services that UD students use will be more accessible. When things go really wrong, there is an “emergency button” that, once clicked, will alert the officers to that student’s location on campus. It is also possible to message them with specific instructions about the situation, such as how many people are involved.
“Even if you can’t talk, if you just hit that button, we will be on our way,” Greene said.
Greene hopes that all of campus will eventually download the app and that students will provide input on how to improve it. Greene also intends to test out an emergency notification system built into the app that would send important information to the students on the system by text, voicemail and email.
The app is certainly still a work in progress, and Greene plans to test various areas around campus to make sure the app will work everywhere. However, even if by chance it is not possible to use all of the features, it is always possible to call the UDPD number on the app.
Greene has given staff members of The University News successful demonstrations of the app, as well as numerous other students on campus. Luke Posegate, a junior economics major and resident assistant in Clark Hall, concurs. “The app has improvements in the works, but for now it is a good tool for students to use. Everyone should have it.” Greene intends to keep the app constantly updated. “I’m adding stuff all the time,” he said, as new needs arrive from student input.
Greene also stressed that the purpose of the app is not to catch students violating rules or seeking out parties and underage drinking. Rather, the safety of the student body is the app’s focus.
“We’re not here to arrest the students, we are here to protect them, ” said Greene. Maintaining the app has its challenges, but Greene thinks it’s a worthwhile endeavor in the long run.
“I think it’s useful and I think the students are going to find it to be useful too,” he said.