In an effort to enhance campus safety, Temple University has upgraded its security system by installing 90 new Code Blue Emergency beacons on the Main, Tyler and Ambler campuses.
The installation of the towers started this past summer on Temple’s three campuses and will be completed next week.
“They are here to provide safety,” said Carl Bittenbender, the head of campus security. “It is geared towards all pedestrians, not just Temple students.”
Of the 90 beacons, 66 are located on Temple’s Main campus.
“We tried to put one wherever there was property owned by Temple,” Bittenbender said.
Temple Police Lieutenant Bob Lowell, said that Temple needed so many Code Blue emergency beacons because the campus has expanded.
He said two years ago Temple did not offer student housing at the Kardon or Elmira Jefferies residence halls. Now, students regularly walk back and forth from those dormitories.
“There is one [beacon] located wherever there is a high traffic route of pedestrians,” Bittenbender said.
Also, the campus security system needed improvements because of its lack of visibility.
“Most students don’t even know that there has been an emergency system for the past 12 or 13 years,” Bittenbender said. “The old ones were not noticeable enough.”
Bittenbender said the Code Blue emergency beacons are easier for pedestrians and police to notice. Each beacon is a tall blue structure with the word “emergency” printed in bold white letters down its base. The gleaming blue light that flashes when the red emergency button is pushed increases the beacon’s visibility.
Prior to Code Blue, Temple’s emergency system consisted of a phone installed inside a rectangular yellow box. These boxes were hung on various telephone polls around campus.
Since the installation of the Code Blue emergency system, most of those yellow boxes have been scrapped. Twenty-five still remain in service, but they will be deactivated once Code Blue is completely installed.
Bittenbender said the new security system is more efficient than the emergency boxes.
“It is a lot more vandal-proof, and it will automatically locate where you are once you press the red emergency button,” he said.
In the next few weeks, a new feature will be added to the emergency beacons. An operator will inform whoever pushed the red emergency button that the police are coming. This will eliminate any confusion as to whether the beacons are functioning.
Campus security has prepared for the likelihood that both neighborhood kids and Temple students will press the red button to make prank calls.
“If we catch a kid doing that, we would of course notify their parents, but if a student is caught doing that, they will suffer disciplinary council,” Bittenbender said.
“They are there to protect the students, and they should not be abused,” he said.
Lowell said prank calls should only be a temporary annoyance.
“I think [prank calls] will eventually die out,” he said
Jonathan Vann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.