UC Davis eliminates emergency phones while Sac State adds more

Joe Fleming

The University of California, Davis campus has recently removed 107 emergency phones, but just a short drive away at Sacramento State University the administration decided to add them.

The consensus among officials at UC Davis is that these phones are out of date and students are not using them for what they were originally intended. UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza advocates the removal of the phones.

“We get mostly prank calls and people needing help with flat tires,” Spicuzza told reporters from News 10.

Spicuzza said aside from the wrongful usage of the emergency phones, most students have cell phones now that can be used to call emergency services.

Students of UC Davis were fast to disagree.

“I study very late and sometimes ride my bike home. It’s nice to know if I needed the call box, it would be there,” said UC Davis student Kristi Ayala in a News 10 article.

“Finding my cell phone could take too long.”

Across the causeway, Sac State officials believe the emergency phones are a valuable asset to the students on campus. Safety at the university is the “bottom line,” said Cpl.

Scott Christian of the Sac State Police Dept.

“The blue phones are a good investment, and they enhanced the safety of the campus, period,” Christian said.

UC Davis had 13 sexual assaults on its campus in 2009, while Sac State had just two sexual offenses according to the 2010 Campus Clery Report.

“(UC Davis’) reasons for getting rid of (the emergency phones) are their own, but I would say that if they are used once then they pay for themselves,” Christian said.

The removal of the phones was not because of the recent CSU budget cuts. Once the phones are installed, they are quite inexpensive to operate said Christian.

Recently, 16 emergency phone units were added to campus, bringing the total up to 133.

The phones are placed in areas where crimes are likely to occur according to campus police. Every parking structure features the emergency phones along with remote areas of campus.

Christian said he believes the blue phones are more resourceful than then a cell phone.

Dialing 9-1-1 with a cell phone will connect you to the Highway Patrol, not the Sac State Police dispatch, which could cost a person under duress precious moments. The university’s emergency phones connect you directly to campus police. Christian said an average response time is around three to four minutes.

“In an emergency, a landline is a much more effective means of communication,” Christian said.

Another important feature of the blue phones is that once you press the red button on the unit, the campus dispatch can pinpoint your location. In a situation where you are unable to speak, campus police can still find you.

While the future of the emergency phones at UC Davis is ending, they will be a permanent fixture on Sac State’s campus for years to come.