Blert! campus safety app now available to NSU students
TNE Editor
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Blert! campus safety app now available to NSU students

Published 10/11/17

Taylor Brown

TNE Writer

Blert!, a campus safety app from Omnigo Software (previously Report Exec), is now available for NSU students at all three campuses to use. Blert! is a free application that allows students to report crimes through a messaging software rather than a phone call. The app has only recently become available to NSU students, having made its debut Sept. 18.

The app launched only a few months ago and is already being utilized by six universities across the country.

James Bell, University Police captain, said the app is replacing 911Shield, the campus safety app NSU previously utilized.

“Blert! is a part of our system, rather than part of a separate system,” said Bell. “With 911Shield, we had to have a separate program running at the same time. It was significantly less expensive to do it this way because we were not paying for another system. We have a records management system here, Computer Agents Dispatch, in which everything is combined. Blert! is a part of that system. Everything that comes into Blert! comes right into our computer and dispatch system, which is running and manned 24/7.”

The app is easily accessible and easy to use. After entering NSU’s organization identification number (Riverhawks) and PIN number (2468) and confirming the university, students can start messaging right away. Anyone using the app is automatically left anonymous. However, users may enter a name and upload an image in the “Set Profile” section of the app.

“It works like a normal chat window,” said Grant Nunnallee, University Police communications officer. “We are notified once you send the initial message, so if you make the request we will not actually get it until the message is sent. If I disconnect, it will let you know when the chat has been disconnected. It has a unique identifier for each person, so we do not need names. We would have to get a search warrant with the company if we wanted someone’s name.”

Through Blert!, students can take photos of the crime or incident they are reporting if it is necessary or beneficial to the report. There is also an option to upload video to the app, but the video must be taken with the cell phone’s camera rather than directly through the app.

Blert! is also able to identify a student’s location if the student has his or her location services turned on for the app. If location services are on, the University Police Department can follow the student’s location if he or she is moving. If they are not turned on, University Police will send an officer to the location in which the initial message was sent. This feature allows University Police to dispatch an officer close to the location in order to hopefully resolve the incident quicker.

Aside from the messaging system, the app also offers resources specific to NSU and its policies.

“We have our inclement weather policies, procedures and what to do for all kinds of emergencies,” said Bell. “You can see our CLERY reporting statistics, our crime statistics and our sexual assault, harassment and grievance guidelines. There is a lot of information on the app for users to access, and campus police is still adding to it. We received a request this week to add a few more categories to the list of resources.”

Jodi Hogerton, Omnigo Software marketing director, said students should download the app because it could really benefit them when they are not expecting to need it.

“I think back to when I was in college, and there were a lot of things that were new to me,” said Hogerton. “I would see things and wonder, ‘Is this okay? Should I tell someone about this?’ More often than not, I did nothing because I did not know who to contact. It is good to have something like this downloaded on your phone, just in case something seems weird. Campus police is just a text away.”

For more information about Blert! and Omnigo Software, visit their website.

To find out more about Blert! at NSU, call the University Police Department at 918-458-2111.


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