Over the summer, the Armstrong Police Department and Facility Services were busy installing school safe lockdown devices on doors across campus. This device was first tested last spring in the Science Center and is now present in the majority of classrooms.
The lockdown device will allow students, faculty and staff to secure doors from the inside in the event of an active shooter situation on campus regardless of the type of lock already installed on the door.
Chief Wayne Willcox explained that by thinking outside of the box and researching their options, they were able to find the best possible solution for the most affordable price: “We took a potentially devastating public safety issue that was going to be hugely expensive and it only cost the university less than $2,000 total to do all of the classrooms.”
Each school safe lockdown device cost only $11. A possible hundred thousand dollar or million dollar project was accomplished for a fraction of the cost by discovering these devices.
During an emergency, students, faculty or staff can simply push the metal device into the emergency position parallel with the door frame and shut the door. It will securely lock from the inside. Instructions are displayed on all doors where it is installed.
Aside from the lockdown devices, the Armstrong PD has been advocating its Pirate Safety Mobile Guardian app. Students may have noticed signs across campus advising students to download the free app. However, the Pirate Guardian app is not a new tool for the Armstrong PD and has been available to students for two years. Unfortunately, according to Chief Willcox, only around 10 percent, or 700 students, use the app every semester.
The app includes several features that can help protect students as well as improve communication between students and the police department.
The Safety Timer feature allows students to set a timer for the approximate time it will take them to reach a certain location around campus or during any other scenario where they may feel unsafe. Once it expires, the “guardian” will be alerted to check on the user and be able to see the user’s exact location. The default guardian on the app is the Armstrong PD but students can also add friends and family to their guardian list.