New call boxes aim to increase safety

Jennifer Curington

More advanced safety call boxes could come to campus, meaning more cameras on campus and less “out of service” signs.

There are currently 38 boxes across campus­­­­ — the tall white poles with blue lights on top of them. When anyone pushes the call button on one of these boxes, the box acts similarly to a walkie-talkie between the caller and the public safety office.

These new call boxes are still in the planning stages and different options are currently being tested by the NetTel offices.

Director of Public Safety Chief Mike Russell hopes the new call boxes will have cameras that are on at all times and a steady source of power, instead of the solar charged batteries they are currently powered by. Public Safety and NetTel are currently working together to test out potential call box capabilities.

When someone activates the callbox, Russell would like for the camera’s feed at that particular station to pop up on public safety’s monitor automatically.

Also, the cameras would help eliminate officers responding to false tampering calls, such as when the grass is being cut near a callbox station.

There are currently 1,300 cameras already on campus, Russell said.

The almost 20-year-old boxes are checked twice a week to make sure they’re functioning properly. Russell said when most boxes are out of order, it is due to recent cloudy weather that has prevented the batteries from receiving the proper solar charge. If a box requires maintenance that will take more than 24 hours, then it is removed completely.

If the call box runs off of some form of standalone power, then hopefully maintenance would not be required as often.

Samuel Robinson from NetTel was scheduled to be interviewed for this story, but cancelled the interview when he learned he needed permission from his director to meet with the reporter. The interview was not rescheduled by press time.

Graphic by Alexandria Tobia