By Jennifer Richardson
Bangor, ME- Personal security is coming to Husson University in the form of a small emergency device from the “Peace of Mind Company.” POMCo is a small device that can attach to your keychain and bring with you anywhere. The device will come to Husson this fall as an “opt-in” option for about $45. With one press of the button an alert will be sent to campus security if you are on campus, or will connect directly to the local police department if you are off campus. When you press the button, it will give security your name, location, and any personal information that you log in to it. The device also allows for instant two-way communication, and has a playback feature if security or police need to replay what has been said.
Ray Bessette, Executive Director of Campus Safety and Security discovered this product because someone connected to the company reached out, gave him one, and told him to look into it and see if it’s something the University would be interested in. After some research he realized that this was something that could benefit the Husson community.
“This basically puts personal protection in the palm of your hand.” The security office has a computer screen dedicated to the POMCo system. It has a map of the campus, and if one is activated, it will show the person’s location within about eighteen feet. Right now a handful of students and faculty have a test version of the device. If the individual activates their device a drop down menu will appear on the securities computer, giving the person’s information and even a picture if they choose to upload one. The security office is not open 24/7, so Bessett talked to the company about what could be done about that. “They modified the app and now when an officer is on patrol, if someone activates an alert it goes right to their duty phone. And when the map populates on their phone, not only do they see your location, but it shows their location in relation to you.”
The company is also working on a silent alert. The current system will say “connecting” and the security officer on the other side’s voice will play out into the air. The silent alert would allow the individual to send out an alert without anyone knowing. This would allow them to call for help if put in an awkward or dangerous situation.
Husson University will be the first college in the state of Maine to utilize this tool. As of Monday, Bessett is aware of at least four more schools that are now looking into POMCo. He is proud that the University is leading the way in personal safety. Bessett also acknowledged how vital the test group has been to this new concept. They have allowed the school and company to work the kinks out and make sure this is the best option moving forward.