By Taylor Pettit

Blue-light phones, a staple on almost every college campus, are phones available to students that make a direct call to the police in case of an emergency.  Several of the older phones have been replaced, six new phones have been installed and several units have been moved around campus.

The older units, also known as Radio Frequency, have been removed from campus for being “problematic,” according to Steve Fulkerson, director of infrastructure and enterprise systems.

“The technology was proprietary. The maintenance was a pain.”

Cellular units have been moved to as many locations as possible where they can be installed on a phone line.

“Cellular lines are reliable, just as reliable as your cell phone,” Fulkerson said.

Problems in the past have included dropped calls on cellular units.

Hard line, or phone line, installation is preferred because of reliability.

“Why take a chance?” Fulkerson said. “It’s all in the name of safety.”

Some cellular units are still located around campus because in some places they are unable to place a hard line connection.

“So far it is significant progress and a step forward,” Fulkerson said.

The project of revamping the blue-light phones took place over the summer. Phones already installed include the women’s soccer field, Starbucks, Perkins east corner, intramural field house, department of criminal justice training gym and Campbell building. The locations of each blue-light phone are determined by the Eastern Police Department.

“We just work with them to have the phones where they want them,” Fulkerson said.

Fourteen more phone installations are scheduled in the near future, including in the Telford parking lot, The Center for the Arts, Stratton smoke shelter and University Drive at the Crabbe Building.

“I hope within a month, but definitely within two months, it will be finished,” said Bobby Bruner, network engineer and project manager.  

Each of the units is tested weekly and reports are sent to Information Technology.