Penn Guardian helps keep campus community safe

Penn Guardian

The dedicated men and women of the Division of Public Safety (DPS) are responsible for enhancing the quality of life, safety, and security of the Penn community. One way DPS accomplishes its mission is through the Penn Guardian program. Launched in 2010, Penn Guardian is an opt-in service that allows faculty, staff, and students to provide important information to DPS first responders in the event of an emergency.

Members of the Penn community can register for the Penn Guardian system on the DPS website. Users will be asked to enter a physical description, photo, and address, as well as known allergies or particular safety concerns.

Personal profiles can be accessed only by Public Safety PennComm employees when the user calls 215-573-3333 from his or her registered mobile phone.

Users have the ability to update the profile information at any time. Information is securely maintained by an independent company with privacy policies that have been reviewed and approved by the University’s Office of Audit, Compliance and Privacy.

Penn Guardian also allows Public Safety to communicate with users via text message if the person is unable to speak to a dispatcher. If, for example, a user with a peanut sensitivity is having an allergic reaction and cannot speak, she can dial 215-573-3333 for help. Public Safety can use Penn Guardian to determine GPS coordinates and obtain her location, as well as arrive on scene aware of her medical condition, allowing for a quicker response and treatment.

“When developing Penn Guardian, we wanted to capitalize on cell phone technology to quickly respond to the safety needs for members of the Penn community,” says Maureen S. Rush, vice president for Public Safety. “We also sought out the best way for users to provide this information while maintaining strict policies to protect their privacy. Penn Guardian integrates cell phone and GPS technology while preserving the privacy of members of the Penn community.”

This service is limited to those who register their cell phone numbers and create online profiles with DPS. Once a phone has been registered, a person can call the DPS emergency number—215-573-3333—and activate the Penn Guardian system.

Originally published on February 7, 2013