Washington U To Use E-Sponder Express During VP Debate

The Washington University Police Department (WUPD) has selected incident management system E-Sponder Express for use at the vice presidential debates scheduled for October at the St. Louis campus and as a tool in its ongoing security operations. The university used Convergence Communication software for security management of the 2004 presidential debates as well.

"E-Sponder allowed me to have all of the key information that I needed before, during and after the 2004 debate, as well as the ability to manage that information instantly," Police Chief Don Straum said. "So when Convergence introduced their new E-Sponder Express solution to the department, I was immediately interested."

E-Sponder Express is an appliance device that includes hardware, software, licensing, training and three years of hardware maintenance for $19,999. Users access the browser-based tool online or through a private network.

The software includes an "all-hazards" template, which uses Incident Command Structure (ICS) forms, roles and processes outlined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The software is built on the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 platform, which lets users create templates that can be loaded with information based on the types of incidents the particular organization faces.

It also provides tools to fulfill the mandates of Homeland Security Presidential Directive-5 (HSPD-5). HSPD-5 requires that those agencies involved in incident management be compliant with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and ICS. These directives mandate that first response organizations track a large quantity of data, including expense, resource and personnel information--involving up to 40 forms that might be filled out for every operational period. E-Sponder Express provides electronic versions of these forms and automates them for single-click entry, so that recurring information is entered automatically.

The university will also be leveraging the E-Sponder Alerts module. This two-way communication tool lets the user simultaneously notify thousands of individuals by voice, text message, e-mail or alpha pager and then records and tracks each person's response.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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