GVPD, IT collaborate to roll out emergency notification system feature

GVL / Emily Frye 
Grand Valley State University police dispatch on Sunday, August 20, 2017.

Emily Frye

GVL / Emily Frye Grand Valley State University police dispatch on Sunday, August 20, 2017.

Emily Doran

This semester, the Grand Valley State University Police Department is collaborating with Information Technology at GVSU to add a desktop notification feature to the GVSUAlert! emergency notification system.

Currently, the system works by notifying the GVSU community of emergencies through emails, text messages and calls, depending on which services an individual opts to receive. The new desktop notification will be an additional reporting measure. With this new feature, GVSU-owned-and-supported computers outfitted with the appropriate software will show a pop-up alert notification any time the university transmits an emergency notification.

Certain conditions must be met for the pop-up notification to display on a computer screen. In addition to having the software installed, the computer must also be connected to the GVSU network, logged in and not in sleep mode.

“We’re still rolling (the desktop notification) out over the course of this month, and I suspect we should have most of it rolled out by the month of September, if not before,” said Capt. Brandon DeHaan of the GVPD.

The desktop notification feature provides another way for GVSU community members to receive alerts in the case of an emergency, which would ideally help ensure that they know about a situation in a timely manner. In theory, if a student is studying in a computer lab on campus and is not checking their phone for texts or emails, they will still be able to see an emergency alert via the desktop notification feature.

“Really, what the drive here is, … if we send any of these messages out, we want to make sure our students get them as rapidly as possible,” DeHaan said. “We really are encouraging all members of our community to update their emergency alert options to the method they identify to be the quickest, … which often means text messages.”

Katie Clark, an IT systems analyst at GVSU, agreed that text messages are a convenient option due to their speed.

“Text message … (is) the best way to get a notification if you’re not sitting in a lab or in your office,” she said.

For now, the software for the desktop notification feature will be installed on computers in public labs, classrooms, and faculty and staff offices. Computers in some departmental labs, such as engineering, computer science and the Language Resource Center, will not be included in the installation, at least for the time being.

To learn more about GVSU alerts and notification options, visit www.gvsu.edu/gvpd/warnings-and-alerts-133.htm.