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Equipment failure knocks out 15 outdoor emergency boxes at Shepherd University

February 11, 2012|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — An equipment failure knocked out the 15 outdoor police emergency call boxes on the Shepherd University campus Saturday following a systemwide failure, said Ed Boober, Shepherd’s acting police chief.

It could take up to 10 days to fix, Boober said.

When a call is made at a box to number 5202, it goes directly to an officer’s hand-held radio for immediate response. While the system is down, students and others should call 911 in an emergency.

The calls don’t automatically transfer to the county’s 911 system unless the officer puts them through.

The only exception, Boober said, are the two call boxes on the wall in the university’s Wellness Center.

“They go directly to 911 if an officer isn’t on hand to doesn’t answer them immediately,” Boober said.

If a caller from a box reports a fire, the officer who receives it can be the first to reach the scene, Boober said.

Call boxes inside buildings are not affected by the system failure.

While the call boxes are there primarily for emergencies, most of the calls on them are from students seeking assistance for nonemergency situations, Boober said.

“They call because they need help for a dead battery, a locked car or they want a ride or an escort to another part of the campus,” Boober said.

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