It was a Friday morning in March when CriticalArc CEO, Glenn Farrant received a call from a public safety leader at a top-ranked research university in California looking for help. Earlier in the week, the university was among the first to cancel classes in response to having both a faculty member test positive for the COVID-19 virus as well as a couple of students in isolation over possible exposure to the virus. The university was accustomed to partial shut-downs, but this was unchartered territory. How would they manage the closure their 8,000+ acre estate, protect multi-million dollar assets across campus, and look after essential personnel with minimal staff? By Saturday morning, they had the answer: SafeZone Secure™ from CriticalArc was implemented and ready to use.
Customer Challenges Tied to the Coronavirus-Prompted Closure
When the Public Safety leader reached out to CriticalArc, there were several challenges they wanted to address:
- The protection of assets more vulnerable to damage and theft due to a more sparsely populated campus
- The current inability to easily view, coordinate and communicate with all available resources to manage the security of the campus, including, deputies, sworn officers, and contracted security officers
- The need to maintain an optimal dispersion of security guards and officers across campus for adequate coverage
- Ongoing protection of university staff and students deemed essential, which were now effectively lone workers
- A solution that could be quickly deployed and configured for their university
How CriticalArc Helped
Because SafeZone is a cloud-based, scalable solution, it can be quickly and easily deployed in days vs. weeks. In the case of this leading institution, the customer was operational within 24 hours, which helped ease the stress of the public safety team.
“SafeZone Secure is commercially deployed in the protection of some of the highest profile campuses in the US,” said founder and CEO Glenn Farrant. “Able to be configured and operational within 24 hours, the service is for universities looking for a solution that is powerful, easy to use and meets the unique challenges tied to closing and securing a campus.”
The campus security leadership team at this prestigious institution quickly realized the SafeZone Secure service was a game-changer when it came to command and control functionality. For the first time ever, they had a common operating view to visualize officers and contract officers assets in real-time, array their coverage and respond faster. The solution proved particularly well-suited for the challenges of securing, controlling, patrolling and responding to incidents across their large campus estate in the most effective way possible.
The university was also able to use SafeZone Secure to monitor historical and real-time patrol coverage, including for a large recreational area on campus reserved for exercise; particularly important to maintain staff wellbeing given gyms were closed due to COVID-19.
Perhaps most relevant to COVID-19 is the ability to use SafeZone Secure to monitor those in self-isolation, including those who have tested positive for coronavirus. By requiring students and staff in quarantine to check-in with the SafeZone app, the campus security team can monitor their location to verify their compliance and proactively check in with them to verify their wellbeing without endangering first responders and other staff.
The campus security team was also able to leverage the SafeZone’s functionality to assist them with turning up a 24×7 command dispatch center overnight to monitor the campus and coordinate resources for response in the most effective way. This provided them with a fundamental new capability that they didn’t have prior to SafeZone.
Benefits and Outcomes
The public safety team has realized a number of additional benefits from the use of SafeZone Secure, including:
- Quickly convening briefings and at shift changes, which makes assembly of the security team more effective so they can get into the field as quickly as possible
- The ability to integrate and coordinate with sister departments i.e. Campus Police and Emergency Management
- The use of heat maps to verify their teams are thoroughly covering all designated patrol areas, by shift, day, or week, as well as real-time depictions of patrol coverage
- Monitoring international students still residing on campus by having them check-in with the SafeZone App so they’re aware of their location and can check in with them remotely to verify everyone is OK in an efficient manner
As a leading research institution on the west coast, the university takes pride in setting the standard for others to follow across the nation, and the public safety team is no different in this regard. They have plans to extend the use of SafeZone for additional use case applications which may include:
- Managing satellite locations across California
- Requiring essential personnel to automatically check-in/check-out when entering/exiting sensitive laboratories
- Coordinate residential security
- Provide additional services to individuals at risk or under threat to ensure they can continue their day-to-day campus engagements
- Manage students and staff travelling internationally so they can provide assistance in the case of a medical issue or a natural or man-made disaster
- Extend their visibility and communicate with additional resources on campus i.e. support staff, Facilities, Emergency Management, so they can see where each other are for optimal coordination and response to any situation
- Oversee and coordinate security for large events i.e. college sports games, concerts, and graduation ceremonies