TapShield

UF is the first university to implement TapShield, a new application aimed at keeping students safe.

The campus safety app is set to debut this week, and it includes features such as a real-time GPS locator and a customizable profile.

“The app will provide an extra layer of security for all the students,” said Jessica Gates, a TapShield spokeswoman.

Gates collaborated with university officials to make the app, which will be free to students and faculty.

The app is set up through an incident response platform, which provides two-way communication between the user and University Police dispatch, Gates said.

She said whenever the app is launched, it automatically sends police the user’s real-time GPS location along with his or her user profile information.

The app has a mode that allows users to chat electronically with the dispatcher for circumstances when the user does not want to be overheard talking to the police.

Student Body President Christina Bonarrigo said the impact of the new safety app will be significant.

“It’s going to provide an extra element of security to students,” she said.

Maria Lyn Cauthorn, a 20-year-old UF industrial and systems engineering junior, said she sometimes feels unsafe while running alone on or near campus after dark, so she would like to download the new app.

“It’s more convenient than calling 911 or going to one of the blue lights,” she said.

A version of this story ran on page 5 on 1/21/2014 under the headline "New 911 app launches for UF campus"