RAVE Patriot Guardian app intended to promote campus safety

Sophia Guild • Staff Writer

Screenshot of the home page of RAVE. Photo courtesy of Sophia Guild
Screenshot of the home page of RAVE. Photo courtesy of Sophia Guild

It’s nearly midnight when student Catherine Chan begins to walk back to her apartment after a late night of studying. Turning on her phone, she opens the RAVE Patriot Guardian Safety app and sets a timer for 10 minutes.

The app will alert her designated Guardians and campus police if she doesn’t make it to her apartment and deactivate the timer. Since the app’s launch in 2014, UT Tyler Chief of Police Mike Medders explained that the Guardian app has provided a way to make the campus safer.

“We wanted to provide our students and the campus community with a useful and secure mobile security app using the most current technology available,” Medders said in a press release. “They can conveniently and easily access the UT Tyler campus police from their phones, all while creating a virtual safety network of friends and family. Implementing this mobile application enhances our safety measures already put in place here on campus, as campus safety and security is our highest priority.”

The app allows users to contact campus police with GPS location and user profile information. A user profile provides campus police with as much, or as little, information as students wish to share.

“Students have the option to share their current location, medical conditions, addresses, and photo,” UT Tyler Police Department said on their website. “This data isn’t shared with police until activation occurs either by call, text, or expired safety timer.”

Safety timers can be set from five minutes to 24 hours. Students can designate friends, roommates, and family to become their Guardian during a safety timer session. If a timer is not deactivated, campus police will be alerted.

“Our dispatch monitors the Guardian app 24/7,” Officer Mike Marcano explained. “Let’s say you’re on campus late at night studying when something happens. If the timer runs out, it’ll send an alert to our dispatch where we can see on a map a ping of your location.”

The app’s various features can keep students safe in potentially dangerous situations. In case of emergency, the app allows users to quickly contact university police through phone call or text. This feature can be used to report a crime in progress or suspicious activity.

“If you’re walking home and see a suspicious person, you can text that to the app,” Marcano said. “We can respond efficiently and accordingly to the situation.”

The app can also help ease the mind of parents worried about sending their children off to college.

“When I used the safety timer, it said a Guardian was watching over me at the station,” Chan said. “I called my mom and told her I was using the app. “She said it [made] her feel a lot better, the fact that someone was watching over me.”

The app is available for students to download at no cost. Search RAVE Guardian in your mobile app store, then sign in with a school email. The app will then personalize to UT Tyler and appear as Patriot Guardian.

“As a girl, you always have to stay alert,” Chan said. “But [the app] is just one more thing that makes me feel safer.”

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