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West Chester U Adds VoIP E-911 to Boost Police Response

A Pennsylvania university has gone public with its implementation of E-911 technology to expedite emergency calls on campus. West Chester University, which has been running Avaya voice-over-IP phones on campus for several years, has added software from Conveyant that identifies the origination of 911 calls. Before the Sentry E-911 solution was integrated to the Avaya phone system, dispatchers at the campus public safety center lacked defined location identifiers, which hampered their abilities to respond to emergencies quickly and accurately.

"In a voice-over-IP environment, where phones can be moved and plugged back in anywhere, you don't necessarily have an accurate location for a 911 call," explained Joe Sincavage, director of networking and telecommunications for the university, in a prepared statement. "We have no way to lock down the phones. We put out a lot of messages telling people not to move phones without contacting us first, but that doesn't always work."

A recent emergency incident illustrated the benefit of the system upgrade. The dispatch center received a 911 call from the Human Performance Lab at the university's health sciences building. The information came in at 10:04 a.m. and help was sent a minute later. An officer arrived on the scene within two to three minutes, according to the institution. Previously, that call might have gone to the county police department, which could have taken up to 15 minutes to get to the exact location on campus.

Now the university is considering the addition of an E-911 mobile application to add similar capability to cell phones being used on campus.

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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