Mason Watch, a New Campus Security App, Provides Improved Police–Student Communications

Posted: August 27, 2014 at 5:02 am, Last Updated: August 27, 2014 at 12:19 pm

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By Joseph Esposito

George Mason University’s police department is offering a free app that will allow students to quickly communicate with police about problems on campus.

The Mason Watch app can be downloaded at ready.gmu.edu.

The free app allows students to communicate with police about problems, provide crime tips and report suspicious behavior. The goal is to provide a faster, less costly and more forward-thinking vehicle for police-student communications in the event of emergencies than that provided by a blue-light system used on many campuses.

What is likely to become a one-stop site for campus security issues will also include information on Title IX and sexual assault concerns, useful maps and even safety tips on studying abroad.

“This app bridges the communication gap between the police department and the community and brings in technology that hadn’t existed to ensure the safety and security of our community,” says Eric Heath, Mason’s chief of police and a 15-year veteran of campus security work.

An initiative of the University Police Department, this new mobile safety app extends the services provided by the emergency notification and preparedness apps, Mason Alert and In Case of Crisis.

This new site represents more than a year of planning between University Police and student government leaders. Heath says the app was an outgrowth of his initial meeting with students after assuming his position in June 2013.

The site was developed by Campus Sentinel Inc., which has created apps for more than 4,000 college campuses. According to Heath, it was important that Mason Watch be carefully tailored to the university, including incorporating campus colors and images.

In addition to the immediate value to students and campus police, the app is expected to be useful to parents, outside law enforcement agencies, the broader community and even to prospective George Mason students.

Write to Michele McDonald at mmcdon15@gmu.edu

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