Coming soon to a smartphone on the College Park campus. It is a new app called M-Urgency created by Dr. Ashok Agrawala.
"This is the first implementation of this type on any campus, any community, anywhere in the world," Dr. Agrawala says.
Here is how it works. After you register and download the app, when you call 911, the emergency operators don't just get a call.
"This call starts appearing along with the video on the dispatcher’s screen," says Dr. Agrawala.
That's right. The dispatcher can actually see what's going on. Then the dispatcher sends the video to the officers.
"The video starts appearing on the officer’s consoles also, so that the officers get to see what each one of them is doing as well as what's going on the incident scene," says Dr. Agrawala.
The GPS system narrows down the location of the caller to within a few feet.
"People get confused about what a person looks like, what they were wearing. Here, we have the video feed right into our communication center," says Captain Marc Limansky of University of Maryland Police.
We walked the College Park campus to see how students felt about the new security app.
"It definitely sounds good. It's just that while I am running away, I don't know if I can take my phone out, unlock it, press play, dial the police and take a video shot while I'm being chased," says student Daniel Justice.
"It still sounds like a deterrent. The fact that they know we have this option, it’s still something that will help. Anything that will help is good," says student Chris Hurley.
Dr. Agrawala says it is the next generation of public safety and it has the potential to eventually expand well beyond any campus. It's giving power to the person with the smartphone to help police help them.
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