University of Central Arkansas Rolls Out New Security App

University of Central Arkansas Rolls Out New Security App

Cpl. Michael Hopper said there are "a lot of resources" available through the app. "It's sort of like a one-stop shop for anything you may need to know about the Police Department."

The University of Central Arkansas is offering a new safety app for students, faculty, staff and campus visitors as part of its public safety program. As of Nov. 15, the app has 844 users, and campus police hope to see that number increase.

According to Cpl. Michael Hopper, the UCA Police Department had wanted to offer a safety app but it took a few years to find one that met the campus’ needs. The app, Safe@UCA, was developed by the AppArmor company.

"Safe@UCA is an integral part of our efforts to stay on the cutting edge when it comes to connecting with and protecting our campus community -- students, parents, faculty and staff, and visitors to campus,” UCA Police Chief John Merguie said. “Users can quickly and easily do a handful of important things, like report a crime or Title IX tip, chat with or text UCAPD and access all of UCA's emergency plans."

Safe@UCA includes features such as Friend Walk, which lets users share their location with a friend in real time so someone can make sure they make it to their destination safely. The app can also connect students with the Bear Patrol Safety Escort, a campus program offering a student-driven golf-cart ride to anyone needing a ride on campus after it gets dark.

Mobile Blue Light, another feature of the app, allows users to send their location to campus police and speak with communications staff. The university also plans to use the app to send out safety alerts, though UCA will also continue to use phone and text notifications.

Safe@UCA also includes direct contact information for the sheriff’s office, the local police and an ambulance service without requiring the users to go through 911.

"It's reducing the amount of time [spent] to find that phone number," Hopper said. "It cuts the middle man out."

Campus officials believe the app may be particularly useful for visitors whose contact information is not on file at the university and who may need contact information for local safety resources. The UCA PD can post information on parking and traffic for special events, too.

Hopper said there are "a lot of resources" available through the app. "It's sort of like a one-stop shop for anything you may need to know about the Police Department," he said, but there’s also information on reporting assaults, counseling, outreach programs and summoning help for a dead car battery or locking your keys in your car.

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.