BANGOR, Maine -At the beginning of the year, the department of Safety and Security introduced a new device to help keep students on campus safe. POMCO (Piece of Mind Company) introduced the small security device: the circular gadget is held easily in the palm of one’s hand. The POM device pairs with a cell phone to send calls to either 911 or Husson Security, depending on where the user is located. A Geofence around campus restricts the device from contacting Bangor Police, but if off campus calls are sent to both the Bangor Police and Husson Security. If within the bounds of Husson campus, pressing the button on the POM device immediately sends the picture, profile information, and GPS location of the user, accurate within around eighteen feet, to the campus Safety office. Conversations with Security using the device are automatically recorded for future reference or playback in case audio is garbled or distorted.
While the device is tied to a cell phone, it works even when the phone is asleep or dead, and does not have to be accessed by an application. The reasoning behind this relies on the assumption that people under duress or needing help will not easily be able to unlock their phones, wait for the app to load, and use it.
“[I]n stressful situations, fine motor skills go quickly,”said Raymond Bessette of Safety and Security. This is why the POM is designed for ease of access. It is simpler just pressing the button on the POM device.
So far, none of the devices have malfunctioned, despite an incident with a student off-campus accidentally pressing the button, which sent a call to the Bangor Police.
“[A]s a realist, it’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when it goes wrong.”
Despite this outlook, however, Bessette is so far pleased with the track record of the POM device on campus, and says he wishes people would use them more often on campus just to get ahold of security. Putting off use of the device until a serious emergency occurs might impede understanding of the POM during a stressful situation. He encourages those who have the device to use it whenever they need to contact security, even in non-life-threatening scenarios.
Originally a device designed to help find lost keys, the POM was developed by a group of graduate students as their final project, and was modified for security use after one of the students’ friends was attacked. The POM works all the time, and even if the battery life is low, the device will go into a sleep mode specifically to allow use. The POM is available to all students who wish to use it for the year-long subscription fee of $45.
Bessette calls the POM device “another tool in the toolbox,” saying that as a father, he knows that $45 is nothing compared to the comfort felt knowing his child is safe.
“It’s a matter of actual safety, and a sense of safety,” Bessette said “And you only need actual safety once in awhile, but you need a sense of safety every day. This device gives people that sense of safety.”