Boca Raton is a beautiful city of approx. 91,000 located in southern Palm Beach County. Florida Atlantic University (FAU) sits on 850 acres within the city limits- a mere 2 miles from the ocean. About 31,000 students attend this campus.
The university has its own sworn officers, giving it legal jurisdiction over the campus. 9-1-1 calls originating from the campus, however, are routed to the Boca Raton Police Department PSAP.
Here is an example scenario- a student on the FAU campus calls 9-1-1 for assistance. The call is answered by Boca Raton PD. Medical and fire calls were (and still are) handled by Boca PD, while all others (law enforcement) were transferred to the FAU Campus Police. The call was answered on a traditional desktop phone.
There was no call back number displayed and no map to provide the callers location.
In 2015, FAU submitted a formal request to my department to become a Secondary PSAP. Their rationale was student safety.
It was not uncommon for a campus 9-1-1 caller to NOT know their exact location (I’m in the parking lot!!!). After a few visits to the campus and meetings with both the Boca Raton PD and Campus Police, it was decided to move forward with the request. The State of Florida gave the project final approval and we recently went ‘live’ with the new PSAP.
FAU Campus Telecommunicators can now see the 9-1-1 callers location and their phone number.
The University plans to integrate building floor plans into the 9-1-1 system- which could be of great benefit. One of the positive aspects of working with the University is that they own the buildings, so we do not need additional permissions, etc. (such as with, for example a regular business).
And so, while there is continued discussion across the country regarding primary PSAP consolidation, we need to also concern ourselves with safety.
There is no simple answer.