Campus emergency phone broadcasts Pat Toomey’s voice

Temple Police's call center in 2015. The technology was updated in September. KARA MILSTEIN/FILE PHOTO


A portion of Sen. Pat Toomey’s call with constituents was unintentionally broadcast from a Temple Police Code Blue Emergency Phone around 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

The emergency phones, which are placed around Main Campus as a direct line to Temple Police, are not supposed to take calls from outside the university, said Charlie Leone, the executive director of campus safety.

But one phone on the corner of 15th and Jefferson streets seemed to have accepted an invitation to Toomey’s town hall. When the call connected, Toomey was answering a constituent’s question about his views on the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

The Allentown Morning Call reported that about 7,500 phones were dialed in using phone numbers that appeared in voter registration records.

Leone said the university upgraded its more than 60 Code Blue emergency phones on Main Campus beginning in September, and all of the replacements were completed during winter break. He added that the new models have overhead speakers that the university could use to broadcast alert messages.

“The good thing is that these work well, the voice is clear,” Leone said.

The university’s Office of Telecommunications was working this afternoon to block the emergency phones from receiving calls like Toomey’s in the future, he added.

Joe Brandt can be reached at editor@temple-news.com or on Twitter @JBrandt_TU.

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