By Grace Apostol
The campus community is in discussion on the additions that could be made to enhance the blue light system on Washington College’s campus.
Director of Public Safety Pam Hoffmann says that the conversations have been “ongoing over the past few years.” Several reasons for these discussions, including the devices becoming older are prevalent at this time.
“The infrastructure for the devices is aging, and as technologies have evolved, maintenance of an older system where parts for repairs are less available is becoming more of a challenge and more expensive,” Hoffmann said.
Public Safety Liaison and Parliamentarian Kya Balin-Brooks agrees with these sentiments, as she has worked with Hoffmann and Public Safety to look into the blue lights.
“This year we have been looking at the usage and operation of blue lights on campus,” she said. “Because they are older and harder to find parts to fix, the Public Safety team has been working on getting an app that would act as a portable blue light.”
As for the app, according to Hoffmann, the current “WAC Alert” platform has an app add-on that could be a personal blue light for campus community members.
“Last fall, members of our Emergency Operations group and the SGA heard a presentation from our vendor about the possible add-on to our WAC Alert platform,” Hoffmann said.
Balin-Brooks also had a chance to meet with this vendor and said that she is, “very excited for it to hopefully be launched in the fall for students because there are so many unique features.”
She believes that this app, which would work alongside the already in-place blue lights, which are not being taken down, would aid in officers’ quick communication.
“The app would increase Public Safety’s ability to quickly communicate with students as well as know who is on or off campus in the event of an emergency,” Balin-Brooks said.
According to Hoffmann, the recent survey sent out by the SGA regarding the blue light phones, was a result of a discussion between SGA and Public Safety.
“Any options that are being reviewed do have additional costs, so having the data from the survey can help guide decisions to ensure that the needs of the campus are being met–from both safety and fiscal standpoints,” she said.
Though no final decision has been made at this time, any updates on new systems or plan approvals will be sent to the campus.