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Husson U Pushes Personal Safety Device to Campus Community

Besides a spate of burglaries in 2014 (the latest year reported to the United States Department of Education), Husson University's Bangor, ME campus experienced one rape on campus. And that was one violent crime too many, said Raymond Bessette, the executive director of safety & security for the three campus institution.

The 3,500-student school recently encouraged its campus community to sign up for a $45 service that alerts police with the push of a button on a personal safety device. The university is working with Peace of Mind (POM), a company that specifically develops safety programs for schools.

The POM Panic Button is a pocket-sized device that provides a two-way or one-way call to campus security. On the receiving end of the alert, the device enables police to pinpoint the user's location on campus, view user information and record what's being said.

"Husson University continues to be one of the safest campuses in the country and we want it to stay that way," said Bessette in a press release. "We're hoping that this device can help make our already safe campus even safer."

The university has been testing out the POM since October 2015.

When the holder pushes the button to activate the device, it sends the GPS location to the public service dispatcher.

The annual subscription allows the student or staff member to choose between a "Silent POM" that emits no sound when activated or a "Signal POM" that beeps and buzzes when the button is pushed. The Signal POM also provides for two-way communication with the dispatcher. The Silent POM enables the dispatcher to hear and record communication but not communicate back.

Members of the school's safety and security team will have copies of a POM app on their smartphones, which will allow them to use the GPS feature to locate those in assistance.

If the user is off-campus, communication is redirected to the local emergency dispatcher.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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