Emerson College Police Department app aims to increase safety

Amanda+Flower+at+work+in+the+ECPD+office+in+Nov.+2017

Media: Maya Gacina

Amanda Flower at work in the ECPD office in Nov. 2017

By Carlee Bronkema, Staff Reporter

Emerson police plan to launch a new safety app called LiveSafe in the coming weeks designed to increase overall student safety on and off campus.

The app, a joint project of ECPD and the Department of Emergency Management, will provide safety resources and information to the Emerson community in a way that is more convenient, ECPD Lieutenant Robert M. Bousquet Jr. said in an interview.

“It is an added safety resource for our community members to communicate and share information with the police department,” Director of Emergency Management Chris Beaurpere told The Beacon.

The implementation of a safety app has been in the works at the ECPD and the Emergency Management Department for a year and six months as the two departments examined different apps before settling on LiveSafe, Beaupere said.

LiveSafe is commonly used among colleges and other organizations and serves three main functions. One is to provide information that students would originally have found in the Emergency Preparedness and Safety Guide, which is posted in various locations on campus and given to students during orientation. The guide provides community members with information regarding what to do in extreme weather, how to report crimes, and what to do for utility issues. The app will also include important phone numbers for the Emerson community, such as ECAPS, the Title IX Coordinator, and the Center for Health and Wellness.

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Another one of LiveSafe’s main features, which Beaurpere said he has received positive feedback on, is called the “safety walk.” If a student is walking alone or doesn’t feel safe, they can use this option and its location sharing services to send their whereabouts to a trusted contact. The person can then actively track the user to ensure their safe arrival. The app also calculates how long the walk should take and will alert the contact if the tracker doesn’t make it to their destination on time.

“The safety walk gives the person the ability to reach out to a person on their contact list and do the walk with someone they know who can monitor their progress,” Bousquet Jr. said.

LiveSafe will also work in collaboration with the emergency notification system the college uses. Users will be able to respond directly to emergency notifications through the app to inform the school if they have been affected by a crisis, such as extreme weather. Beaurpere said this will be particularly useful for students living outside of ECPD’s jurisdiction.

For example, if there is a fire in Allston, ECPD can use the app’s tracking feature to send a notification to all of the Emerson students or affiliates in that area to ask if they require assistance, Beaupere explained.

“If you allow the app to know your location, we can now pinpoint where you are and forward that information to the responding services,” Beaurpere said.

The app also has a feature that allows users to submit tips, noise complaints, and file crime reports with the ECPD.

The LiveSafe app can be downloaded on both the Apple and Android app stores, but the Emerson specific part of the app is not live yet. The college will send out emails to the Emerson community regarding how students and faculty can access the Emerson specific part of the app when it goes live.

Family members or those without an Emerson login can also download the app, but will not have access to as many features. They will still be able to see all of the phone numbers and safety resources.

“This is providing people a different way to communicate with us and if it is something they are more comfortable with, it is an option for them,” Bousquet Jr. said.