Panic Buttons

2 Replies

Panic Buttons

Posted by Trinity Gonzalez on Mar 24, 2018 6:30 pm

There are certain offices on our campus that have panic buttons such as Dean of Students case managers, counselors, and victim advocate program case managers. This is because staff often have 1-on-1 meetings in their offices with folks who could potentially be a danger to themselves or others, so they need a way to communicate in an unsafe situation. I've had many frontline staff members who work at reception desks ask to have panic buttons installed at their desks. I asked our campus access control and security folks to come out to evaluate this request, and the response I got was "no." The reasons make sense: if someone pushes a panic button and runs away, the police then don't know what type of situation they are responding to and how to find the person to get information about the threat. They'd much rather folks call 911 and supply information so they can better assist. Has anyone received a similar request, and if so, what was the response from your campus police and access control staff?
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Re: Panic Buttons

Posted by Ben McCardell on Apr 30, 2018 8:35 am

We're actually in the process or repairing/replacing our panic buttons. Based on our location (downtown Newark) combined with the fact that we have offices that take cash as well as have offices that often meet with students in crisis, we (Student Affairs and Campus Police) have agreed that pretty much every pro-staff office should have a panic button and that most of the receptionists should have them as well. 99% of our panic buttons are hard-wired into desks. But there are some installations where that wasn't practical or possible so we have panic remotes that operate the same way but allow for greater flexibility. 

I'm curious, who do they think are going to push these panic buttons and then run away? Is the concern about desks in public/open areas that might not be staffed at all times? Because otherwise, I'm not sure I completly understand the idea that people might push these buttons and then run away. I would argue that even for staff sitting at reception desks, it may not always be possible or safe for them to call 911 and relay information if there is someone present who might be a danger to themselves or others.

 

Re: Panic Buttons

Posted by Trinity Gonzalez on May 2, 2018 9:49 am

Interesting that every pro staff office has them installed... This is actually great information because we are going into a complete rebuildling project of our facility, and this could be something to explore as we plan our office spaces. Many of the front-line reception staff expressed interest in having them installed but our PD security team was adamantly against it in areas that are not cash handling points. I was a bit confused by their explanation as well, but I relayed the message to the Union team and we all moved on. The concern was mainly about open reception desk spaces and the fact that pushing a button does not relay any information about the situation to the responding authorities. They said that they don't want there to be a perception that you can just push a button and someone will come save you. They want everyone to be aware of their surroundings and trained on how to respond in situations. 

Any other folks have similar panic button setups to Ben's?