Orange Shield has been available to download for almost two years, but only about a third of Oklahoma State University campusgoers have it on their phones.
About 8,500 users have enrolled on the free campus safety app out of about 27,000 students, faculty and administrators who visit the main Stillwater campus every day.
Campus officials attribute the lack of downloads to students feeling safe on campus and invincible in general.
“It’s just who you are between the ages of 18 and 25,” OSU public information officer Carrie Hulsey-Greene said. “We’re dealing with a population that doesn’t think anything bad is going to happen to them.”
Lt. W. Anthony Gillilan of the OSU Police Department said the 9.8-megabyte app costs $32,000 per year, which is paid out of the OSU public safety budget to the Ohio-based company 911Cellular LLC.
Gillilan said the budget shrunk last year and he expects it will shrink even more next year. OSUPD, though, is committed to keeping Orange Shield.
OSU police Lt. Mark Shearer said one of the biggest reasons he wants students to download the app is because it directs their 911 calls to the appropriate dispatch center.
Orange Shield uses geofencing technology to direct users’ calls on campus to OSUPD dispatch. Shearer said without the app, a 911 call made on campus is directed to the Stillwater Police Department, which could be disadvantageous.
Shearer said in most cases, especially medical emergencies, it is critical to not waste time being transferred from SPD dispatch to OSUPD dispatch.
Gillilan said the app also allows OSUPD to set a geofence around Boone Pickens Stadium on game days to direct 911 calls made on the app to the on-site OSUPD command post to shorten response times.
Another important feature of the app is its locating capabilities, Gillilan said. When a 911 call is made…