Police department to upgrade campus emergency alert system

By Amy Fuhrman, Staff Writer

The OCU police department will improve the emergency alert system in the next few weeks to insure that all students receive timely alerts.

Steve Taylor, assistant chief of police, said the old system was not getting the messages out in a timely manner.

“Cellular carriers delay mass messages in fear of viruses,” Taylor said. “That’s why it was taking so long for students to get the messages.”

After the recent snow days, students reported receiving text messages after the campus officially closed.

In light of these recent technical difficulties, the police department is adopting a new alert system for the emergency alerts.

Oklahoma State University in Stillwater already uses the new system. It allows the police to send a mass text message in less time compared to the system OCU currently uses.

The emergency alert system is a way for the police to notify the campus community of an emergency situation. The alert system also is used in the event of school closures.

Taylor said the alert system is in place to keep the campus safe.

“We can let the community know of any type of emergency that can affect the community quickly,” Taylor said.

The emergency alert system employs the use of email and text messages. Students can opt out of any messages they do not wish to receive.

Students can sign up to receive text message alerts on the police department website. Student can also enroll in the system at registration.

Travis Burch, music theater freshman, said the system has room for improvement.

“The emails are only effective for people who have smartphones,” Burch said. “Without the text messages, I have to rely on friends who can see their emails or the website.”

While the new system is expected to be more efficient, Taylor said that no alert system is perfect.

“Nothing is guaranteed,” Taylor said.

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