Police say students barely use blue emergency poles, more likely to use cell phones

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Police say students barely use blue emergency poles, more likely to use cell phones

(Joshua Sampson/The MSUSpokesman)

(Joshua Sampson/The MSUSpokesman)

(Joshua Sampson/The MSUSpokesman)

Joshua Sampson, Staff Writer

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Morgan State University has a multitude of blue emergency phones strategically placed on campus that are checked twice a week, however, police say they are rarely used.

University Police Chief Lance Hatcher said the emergency phones are not used often, but can be useful if someone’s cell phone is damaged and they need to contact the police department.

According to a 2018 Campus Security and Fire Safety Report, the two-way call boxes allow an individual to speak directly with a member of MSUPD. 

Junior Berdelle Gladden, a creative writing major, agreed that though she is not likely to use the emergency phones, if her phone was dead or about to die she would use them. 

Cameras are located on 80 percent of the devices and are activated once dialed.

Some students were familiar with how to use the emergency phones, but most were not. One student in particular experienced difficulty when she tried to use it for the first time.

Amanda Tucker, a junior applied liberal arts major, said when she called no one answered.

She had attempted to use the device “just to be safe” after she saw that a backpack had been left in one of the buildings on campus.

“I tried it once and nobody answered,” Tucker said. 

Once someone presses the dial button on an emergency phone, they are instantly connected with MSUPD and their location becomes available. Shortly after this, a MSUPD officer is dispatched to the location.

There have been five robberies, three aggravated assaults, six burglaries, and six rapes reported on campus since 2016, according to crime data collected by MSUPD and the Baltimore City Police Department. 

Though there is a high presence of them on campus, none are located near off-campus housing complex Marble Hall Gardens because the school does not own the property, however, there are a few at the Morgan View Apartment Complex.

Several students like sophomore mathematics major Brice Kemajou said they are more likely to use their phone in case of an emergency.

“Seven or eight out of ten times, I’ll use my phone because it’s always in my pocket,” Kemajou said. “But if I didn’t have my phone [the emergency phones] would be my second option.”