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Michigan State University to release app to help with campus security, student safety

School is currently testing app before release
Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 9:16 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2021 at 10:47 PM EST
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The MSU Police and Public Safety announced the development of a new tool Wednesday in an effort to calm the nerves of students and parents.

The announcement was made during a virtual townhall meeting held by Michigan State University to address security concerns on campus.

People were able to submit questions to have them answered by public safety officials in an effort to calm the nerves of students and parents.

Since the disappearance of Brendan Santo three weeks ago, there’s been a lot of concern about the safety of people on campus at MSU. On Friday, school officials revealed one of the surveillance cameras -- which could have answered some questions regarding Santo’s disappearance -- wasn’t working.

Related: Michigan State University Police release photos of items Brendan Santo may have had with him

MSU president Samuel Stanley released a statement Wednesday to reassure people campus is safe. While he didn’t disclose how many cameras are on campus or where they’re located, he claims the number is in the thousands. Additionally, the school ordered 300 more cameras, which could be installed before Thanksgiving.

Read: ‘It’s really scary’ -- MSU students don’t feel safe following surveillance camera problems

“I’m sure there’s a lot of other cameras that are also not working around campus,” said MSU sophomore Jordan Reed. “It’s not like you know which cameras those are.”

“We try and take more precautions now because we realize we’re not invincible and anything could happen whether you’re a male or female,” said MSU sophomore Anjalee Sellors.

MSU police said they are releasing some technology that could help prevent further disappearances in the future.

“I could give Vinnie the authority to view my progress from leaving the main library to our apartment,” said MSU chief of police Marlon C. Lynch. “And he could watch it real time through our GPS.”

Lynch explained a buddy-system-type feature on a safety app they’re releasing for people on campus.

“He could see if I stopped, if I took longer than the 15-20 minutes that it would normally take,” Lynch said. “He would get an alert to it.”

MSU police are doubling down on their efforts to keep people safe after Santo’s disappearance and the destruction of property after the rivalry game.

“The majority of the time, I do feel safe, but there are definitely time -- especially when it gets dark out or when you walk by certain people -- you just need to take your own precautions, for sure,” Reed said.

“We always try and walk in pairs or with other people,” Sellors said. “We carry around pepper spray everywhere we go.”

Reed and Sellors said they’ve always been cautious, but admit their sense of preservation has spiked since the disappearance of Santo.

“We’ve been doing that before the Santo case,” Sellors said. “We have to take more precautions now because we realize we’re not invincible.”

“Always carry your pepper spray, always make sure your phone is charged, make sure people have your location,” Reed said. “It’s not even just being a female because with Brendan Santo, he was a guy and something still happened to him.”

Lynch acknowledged the malfunctioning camera at Yakeley Hall would have given more insight into the Santo case, but said it’s just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to safety. He believes the new app will be a big help.

“It’s another tool. That’s what we want,” Lynch said. “We don’t want to just have one or two things overall for campus safety. We need to have numerous things.”

There is still no word when the app will become available. The school is currently doing a trial run with a group of students to make sure it works properly.

Brendan SantoDetails
Height5 feet, 10 inches
Weight160 pounds
ClothingLast seen wearing gray sweatpants, black shirt, black Red Wings baseball cap and white Converse high-top shoes

Anyone who has seen Brendan Santo or knows of his whereabouts is asked to contact the Michigan State University Police Department at by phone at 844-99-MSUPD (67873) or by email at tips@police.msu.edu.

Copyright 2021 WILX. All rights reserved.

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