Department of Public Safety, Hunter Walker release video promoting Guardian app

Student downloads Rave Guardian campus safety app. Kenneth Prabhakar | Photographer

By Jonah Kramer | Staff Writer

Baylor’s Department of Public Safety released a video promoting the Rave Guardian app, featuring student body president Hunter Walker.

“One of Baylor’s main priorities is the safety of its students,” Walker said in the video. “With that in mind, Baylor encourages students to use the free Rave Guardian app.”

The app is the No. 1 most used campus safety app in the nation, according to a Baylor press release.

“[It] is custom fit to Baylor University Department of Public Safety resources and the needs of the Baylor community,” the press release said.

Don Rodman, assistant chief of the Baylor University Police Department, said while the app first became available to students in 2016, BUPD wants to make sure new students know about the resource.

“We wanted to make sure that it was something that is marketed for the students,” Rodman said. “Hunter was a great person that was recommended through our marketing and promotions team … We thought he would be a great representative.”

In the video, Walker highlights two of the app’s main features: the safety timer and the anonymous tip submission tool.

“A primary feature of the app is the safety timer meant to keep you connected as you walk across campus,” Walker said in the video. “The safety timer acts as a virtual escort, ensuring that you are never alone on your walk across campus. When using this feature, the app will notify a friend, family member or a dedicated Guardian employee when you arrive at your destination safely.”

In the event that a student doesn’t feel safe once they arrive at their destination, Rodman said the app will alert their guardians.

“One thing that’s really nice is that the Baylor University Police Department can be one of those guardians,” Rodman said.

Portland, Ore., sophomore Eesha Vasisht said she began using the safety timer after hearing about it from a friend.

“I’m on a dance team, and we get out of practice around 11 p.m. every night, and I have to walk across campus to my dorm,” Vasisht said. “I was just telling her about how unsafe I felt every time I walked back, and she told me about the Guardian app.”

In addition to the safety timer, Vasisht said she keeps the app open while walking, enabling her to call BUPD with the click of a button.

Rodman said the Guardian app allows people to immediately request help.

“We have over 80 emergency call boxes on campus, but this literally gives you one at the tip of your fingertips,” Rodman said.

Rodman also said a function of the app that helps BUPD is the anonymous tip feature.

“[When] people will see something that doesn’t seem right, they’ll be able to text that, and then our dispatchers [will] respond appropriately,” Rodman said.

Examples of activity warranting use of the tip tool include a person peering into vehicles, reckless driving, an aggressive stray dog or any peculiar behavior, Rodman said.

Rodman also said he encourages students to trust their gut instinct, and he assured there is no harm in reporting a suspicion.

The Guardian app, which has had over 23,000 downloads by the Baylor community since its release in 2016, helps students “stay connected” to BUPD in a mutually beneficial exchange, Rodman said.