Best Practice for Campus Safety
Keeping students, faculty, and staff safe wherever they are on campus is a priority. However, the Safety and Security Department at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois was coping with an aging, unreliable two-way communications system, making their jobs more challenging. With their new MOTOTRBO digital two-way portable radios, Safety and Security can now communicate throughout the campus – even throughout the underground service tunnels and all the way out to the new downtown satellite campus located a mile away.
Founded in 1920, the University of St. Francis (USF) in Joliet, Illinois is a private, nonproﬁt university located on three square blocks of a residential neighborhood. The school’s 2,000 students and 93 full-time faculty split their time between the Twin Oaks campus about four miles away and a new satellite campus for the Arts & Design program, located in the historic Rialto Theater building about a mile away in downtown Joliet.
Like many small universities, the USF Safety and Security Department had not always been a major presence, but September 11, 2001 changed that. Today, the security force is comprised of 15 ofﬁcers led by Director Tom Uraski, who holds security drills to keep his team sharp and ready to respond. According to President Michael Vinciguerra, “Our Safety and Security Department regularly undergoes training, including updates for best practices for campus safety.”
However, in spite of the university’s efforts to maintain top-notch campus security processes, its aging two-way analog radio system was hindering those best practices.
The Solution – MOTOTRBO Digital Portable Radios
Uraski contacted Dennis Burda at Miner Electronics, a local Motorola channel partner, to discuss the situation and develop a proposal. After learning about the situation, Burda recommended MOTOTRBO digital portable radios.
The MOTOTRBO radios would provide reliable coverage between the university’s main and downtown campus, ensure more crisp audio throughout the coverage area and help eliminate dead spots within the campus buildings and the underground service tunnels. The enhanced call management capability of MOTOTRBO would enable the Safety and Security team to talk privately one-to-one or facilitate a group call for real-time emergency alert notiﬁcation to the entire team. Text messaging would also allow discrete messages to be exchanged either through pre-programmed emergency notiﬁcations or short, free-form messages. And thanks to the radios’ digital technology, the static, noise, and interference of the old analog radios would be a thing of the past.
Last but not least, the radios would help the university facilitate a smooth and cost-effective transition to digital communications. MOTOTRBO radios are dual-mode, which means that a simple switch allows them to easily toggle back and forth between analog and digital. The dual-band capability of the MOTOTRBO radios would allow the university to purchase MOTOTRBO radios for the Safety and Security Department ﬁrst and then convert maintenance and other campus employees, who still use the analog radios, to digital technology as budget became available.
The Motorola channel partner gave Uraski’s team a set of demo radios to test effectiveness. “The ﬁrst time we tried them, the clarity of the MOTOTRBOs blew me away,” Uraski says. “I’ve never heard twoway radios sound this good before.”
The channel partner mounted a repeater on top of the tallest building on the main campus and one on top of the Rialto building downtown. This has not only enabled the Safety and Security Department to easily communicate between the two campuses, but also gives a clear signal down into the service tunnels that run underneath the buildings.