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At the University of South Florida, you’re just a button punch away on a “blue light” phone from 911 emergency operators.

“This is the next generation of the blue light phone, pretty much,” said Christopher Akin, USF Information Technology.

Now the university is cramming those big, bulky “blue-light” phones into student’s cell phones to make sure they travel safely across campus.

“On your cell phone, you can activate a guardian timer that alerts the police department that you are in route to your destination. Then once you reach your destination, you deactivate your timer,” according to Akin.

If something happens to you, the “Guardian” system tracks students using the GPS in their cell phones, popping-up a name, photo and other information on a screen for dispatchers to pass along to police. The new system is so detailed; you can even leave a voicemail with extra information like what you’re wearing.

The new security system is part of an ongoing effort to beef-up on-campus security. USF put a new siren alert system in place last year that they’ve used twice. The college also uses mobile texting, with 70,000 subscribers, for safety alerts. Now “Guardian” is one more way to keep students safe.

“It allows the subscriber to provide that information, we then get it, we know who we’re looking for and we can get that assistance to them much faster,” said Captain Mike Klingebiel with the USF Police Department.

If students are forgetful, and leave that timer running, 911 operators will call you and text you with a reminder.

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