Cerritos College has signed a contract to implement the RAVE Guardian personal safety app by the end of the spring 2020 semester.
This app, produced by the same company that provides the RAVE Alert system, provides additional options to Cerritos College students to remain safe on and off campus.
Campus Police Chief Tom Gallivan describes Guardian as “a custom branded cellphone safety app.”
RAVE Guardian app’s many features would produce a serious overhaul of the Cerritos College security apparatus. The ubiquity of smartphones means almost anyone on campus can utilize the safety features provided.
RAVE Guardian possesses several notable features: a virtual walk escort, an emergency panic button, contact resources for campus safety, and emergency notifications, among others.
The application, unlike the RAVE Alert, is opt-in, requiring students and faculty to download the app and create a profile.
“This is strictly voluntary,” says Gallivan. “You have to take the effort to download the app and become part of this safety app.”
The profile creation process allows users to input medical issues, like allergies, that may be important information for emergency services. The user can also include their class schedule and presumptive locations to allow for quicker response times from police and medical aid.
The app’s usage of GPS conflicts with the vertical nature of much of Cerritos’ campus. An emergency call to the Social Sciences building, for example, cannot be pinpointed to a specific floor or room.
If the user hasn’t input their schedule, the first responders know only the general area in which the emergency is taking place.
The op-in nature of the application produces further issues. Students and faculty must take the time to download and familiarize themselves with the app before it can be effectively utilized.
To counter this possibility, the Cerritos College Police intend to wage a marketing campaign across the campus to increase awareness of the app’s potential value.
Another feature of the app that Gallivan is “really excited about” is “24/7 texting” of campus police.
The RAVE Guardian app allows users to anonymously text the campus police with information on criminal activity or an emergency that requires the user to remain quiet, preventing a phone call.
“Users are able to send us confidential tips… and we’ll get it in real time,” Gallivan says.
This feature has obvious value to law enforcement and potential victims of crime or medical misfortune.
Issues could arise when considering the serious risk of allowing anonymous users to submit unverified tips and reports to police.
RAVE Guardian is expected to be introduced to the Cerritos College community sometime later in the spring semester. The contract for the application has already been signed but implementation hasn’t been finalized.
Cerritos students will be encouraged by campus police to download the app and create their profiles as soon as the app is made available. Most emergencies, after all, are unexpected, unwelcome surprises.