Thursday, November 30, 2023

SafeMSU app to include campus safety alerts, to combat delayed messaging

March 30, 2023
<p>A Michigan State Police car on Aug. 23, 2019 in East Lansing.  </p>

A Michigan State Police car on Aug. 23, 2019 in East Lansing.

Photo by Sylvia Jarrus | The State News

Students, faculty members, parents and East Lansing community members will be able to access safety alerts sent by the Michigan State University Department of Police and Public Safety, or DPPS, on the SafeMSU app as soon as next week, DPPS communications manager Dana Whyte confirmed.

DPPS's priority, Whyte said, is to ensure accessibility to alerts and to encourage students and community members to download the SafeMSU app. 

The department currently uses the platform Everbridge to send out mass notifications to the community in three separate ways: email, a phone call or SMS text messaging. 

Whyte said MSU faculty, staff and students are automatically enrolled to get safety alerts sent to their MSU email. They are able to get a phone call or a text message if they change preferences on the MSU alert page.

For people who don't have an MSU NetID, they can text 'MSU alert' to 888777 and get the alerts through text messages.

The night of the Feb. 13 mass shooting, students recieved email alerts at different times, some recieving them around 8:30 p.m. and others around 9 p.m.

Whyte said the reason behind the alert system's delays and why some people may have received alerts before others depends on cell service.

"We are aware of that issue and that is something that we are looking at," Whyte said. "SMS text messaging alerts are sent out all at once, but depending on someone's phone carrier, their service at the time would impact when that alert actually went through."

The SafeMSU version of receiving alerts, when connected to Wi-Fi, is a potential way for people to receive safety alerts quicker than SMS text messages or email notifications, Whyte said.

The plan to implement MSU safety alerts on the SafeMSU app has been in the works since December when Ryan Doyle, the director of the new Support Services Bureau was hired, Whyte said.

The Support Services Bureau oversees the safety alerts along with the Emergency Management, Evidence and Records and Analysis divisions.

"One of the things that (Doyle) came in wanting to do is integrate our alert system with our app," Whyte said. "So, I wouldn't say it was necessarily a result of the (Feb. 13 mass shooting) but it's definitely something we think will help with people receiving those alerts as quickly as possible."

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