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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Behind the Blue Light

Story by Meryl Ramsey

Behind the Blue Light

Emergencies do not often happen at Fort Lewis College, but if one were to arise, a student has the option of using the call boxes located throughout campus for fast and easy help.    

 “They are for emergency purposes and when a person pushes the red button, the call is directed to the 911 dispatch, here in Durango,” said Arnold Trujillo, the chief of police at FLC.  “The person then can speak into the phone and give the location and the dispatcher can send someone to help.”

People call in for motorist assist, a battery jump or a flat tire as well as suspicious activity in the parking lots. Dog bites and even some skateboarding accidents have been reported through the use of the call boxes, he said. 

There have not been any extremely serious incidents reported through the call boxes. There was once a pretty sever dog bite that was reported but that is as serious as it has been, Trujillo said.

“Most students assume that the call boxes are just for serious emergencies where they feel in danger,” said Shawnee Silva, a FLC student. “I didn’t know that they could be used for something as simple as car troubles.”

However if a serious call comes in the dispatcher immediately sends a police officer to the location of the call.

“We are probably within a minute or two of any call that goes through,” Trujillo said.

The phones are also equipped with a blue light on top, which works as a strobe light, so when it is pushed it immediately lights up the area, especially at night and draws attention to the area, he said.

The strobe light is a big signal to an officer because if they see the light blinking, they immediately send attention to that phone, even if it is before a call is received from a dispatcher.

There are 16 call boxes on campus now and they are placed in visible and easily accessible locations. Students know where the phones are and can easily run to the phones for help if needed. They have been a real asset to the police department and for people on campus as well, Trujillo said.

 

The Independent | Fort Lewis College | 1000 Rim Drive | Durango, CO 81301 | 970-247-7405 |  independent@fortlewis.edu