CSU Protecting Students With New App

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CLEVELAND-- Safety on a college campus, all at the touch of a button. Believe it or not, there's an app for that.

Cleveland State University is using smartphones as the eyes and ears of campus police.

"This is a security app that allows students, teachers, faculty, anyone who might be in distress, to hit a single button. It will instantly send a locator and identifier to police, where they can come and provide any assistance they may need," said CSU Spokesperson Joe Mosbrook.

The app is called Viking Shield. It's a free downloadable app available for Cleveland State Students through iTunes or Google Play.

"What Viking Shield is, is an enhanced 911 system," said Sgt. Richard Flaherty of the Cleveland State University Police Department.

Viking Shield was developed by Chad Salahshour, an auxiliary police officer for 20 years. His daughter attends Cleveland State and he wanted her and other students to have security in the comfort of their own hands.

"I also started learning about the incidents that were taking place nationally that were quite disturbing to me," Salahshour said.

This app is 3 years in the making. It was developed in Beachwood, Ohio just up the road from Cleveland State. It is the first campus nationwide to use it.

"I think it's a fantastic thing that CSU has done to ensure the safety of the students," said CSU Graduate student Dale Kosan.

Here's how it works: when you have an emergency you tap on the app. A police, fire or medical tab will pop up. You press which service you need, and it instantly connects you with the help you need.

"Unlike with other 911 cellular systems where you would get 'it's located in a 500m area;' we would get the exact address of where you are," Sgt. Flaherty said.

If the student is not available to speak or can't communicate with dispatch, the caller can send a text message, a picture, or even live video.

"Live video of the incident taking place in the classroom can be sent directly to the police dispatch, and from that point it can be disseminated to all the responding officers," said Salahshour.

When students download the application, they can add personal information which can help dispatchers in the case of an emergency.

"They can put in vital medical information like blood types or allergies for instance. So, if there was an emergency and first responders needed to come, they would have that information at their fingertip," Mosbrook said.

The project costs $20,000 annually for Cleveland State to maintain. The campus even has its own Internal Positioning System so dispatchers can report your location, your building, and even what floor you're on.

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