New UPD app generates more use than existing silent tip line
240 users registered for two-month old ‘Guardian Eagle’
The University Police Department’s Guardian Eagle app already has 240 registered users, but UPD Chief Steven Moore would like to push for more.
“Our next big push will be during orientation,” Moore said. “We would hope most of the incoming freshman will download the app.”
So far, the app has been primarily used to send in tips to UPD. According to Moore, the tips have ranged from noise complaints, to reporting intoxicated people outside of dorms, to a fight in the student union.
“The only emergency activations have been accidental,” Moore said.
The Guardian Eagle app was purchased by UPD in February 2015 and will cost $4,000 each year.
Moore said that UPD has received three or four tips in the last few weeks.
Even though the app has only been around for two months, it has already been used more frequently than UPD’s silent tip line. In a March interview, UPD Lt. Anthony Rispoli said the tip line hadn’t been used at all since he was put in charge of it in August 2014.
Rispoli thinks that the app could be more effective than the tip line because when students send a text tip through the app, it goes directly to a dispatch monitor.
“There’s a dispatch monitor up 24 hours a day,” Rispoli said. “When people use the silent tip line, it goes to an answering machine and then goes to an email address. With that, there’s a lag in time because it goes to only my email address.”
Despite its lack of use, Rispoli doesn’t believe that the tip line will be phased out.
“The tip line isn’t costing us anything to run, so there’s no reason to get rid of it,” Rispoli said.
Rispoli says that the app is just another way to contact UPD.
“For a lot of students, this is their first time away from home. They’re not really comfortable talking to police,” Rispoli said.
But with 240 app users already, clearly students are comfortable texting the police.
Moore also believes that since the app includes a button to press to contact UPD or 911, it gives students a simple way to contact help without having to find UPD’s phone number.
“This simplifies that — you’re not sitting around wondering who to call,” Moore said.
Moore is hoping that incoming freshmen will download the app, and UPD is planning to work with Housing to encourage students to register for it on move-in day in August.
The app can be downloaded onto Android and Apple smartphone under the name Rave Mobile Safety.