Students who relied on the protective features of the EmergenSee application were disappointed to hear on Oct. 31 that the app would no longer be in use.
Assistant Director of Public Safety John Ritchie commented on the app no longer being operational due to the app provider going out of business.
“We were shocked,” said Ritchie. “We didn’t expect that to occur one bit. The system shut off pretty quick. We got the notice about 2:20 in the afternoon and by 5 o’clock, the system was offline.”
DPS informed the student body that the app was no longer operational at 5:27 p.m.
Ritchie explained that DPS was initially impressed by EmergenSee because it provided real time video, audio, pinpoint locations of users by utilizing GPS, text messaging and phone conversations. The app also had a virtual escort feature, as well as an emergency alert button system.
DPS is currently working to find a comparable replacement system for the Fairfield University community.
“I would want the replacement system to be very similar [to EmergenSee],” said Ritchie. “I really like the mapping system to know exactly where somebody is; it is critical [for the new system to have this].”
According to Ritchie, DPS has been examining various demos of potential replacement apps for the student body to use.
“It’ll take us a couple weeks to really take a look at the different systems and decide what we want to move forward with, so it might be a couple months for us to truly get a system up and running,” Ritchie added.
For a replacement system, Jenny Schwartz ‘18 suggested, “I think the idea of having something like that is good but maybe it would be nice if there’s some way you could message a DPS officer and ask them to escort you back.”
The reasoning for EmergenSee going out of business, according to Ritchie, is because the owner passed away recently.
“We got a notice saying that the owner passed away in the last couple of weeks and that the company was in a transitional phase,” Ritchie commented. “Whoever was left decided not to maintain the business.”
Throughout the time EmergenSee was utilized by the Fairfield community, for the past two years, Ritchie had no complaints to report.
However, Julie McCarthy ‘20 questioned the necessity of having such a system.
“I had it for a little bit, but I ended up deleting it before it went out of business because I didn’t feel like I needed it. I never felt unsafe on campus.”
Richie, however, had nothing but praise for the app.
“I think it was an effective product,” Ritchie said. “It was used all the time for the escort services and occasionally we got some tips on there, but I don’t think anyone has ever used the emergency button for a true emergency.”
Even though the app was “seldom used,” it was effective because it worked, according to Ritchie.