Tried and true emergency phones on the University of the Pacific campus continue to play an effective security role, according to Mike Belcher, director of public safety. Photo courtesy of Talk-A-Phone

It takes a lot to change an opinion.

Some people, for instance, may regard emergency phones as obsolete and ineffective. Mike Belcher, director of public safety at the University of the Pacific with a main campus in Stockton, Calif., used to think that. He thought advances in personal communication, such as cell phones, outweighed any advantages that emergency blue light phones could offer.

A decade ago, the University of the Pacific installed emergency phone towers and wall mounts from Talk-A-Phone as an upgrade to aging emergency communication equipment. A year after installation of the units, Belcher was named the university’s director of public safety.  Now in charge of the emergency phones, his opinion began to change. “I was originally very skeptical and I never realized how important these units are,” says Belcher. “I was never able to see, first hand, what these meant to the students. I quickly saw that they make our students feel safer and I’m glad they’re here.” Now nearly 250 emergency phones have been installed or upgraded on the University of the Pacific’s Stockton campus. 

Belcher adds, “Another reason why I changed my mind…is due to some of the neighborhoods around campus. This university is kind of an island in the middle of Stockton.  We looked at different ways to increase the perception of campus safety. Students and the surrounding community know that with these phones they have the ability to get assistance and notify public safety in a timely manner. They create a bubble, an atmosphere of safety.”

According to Belcher, a student off campus recently was robbed of his iPhone. With no means of contacting the authorities, he ran onto campus and activated an emergency phone. “It’s situations like this that helped mold my current opinion,” Belcher adds. “Environments are always changing, but the need for security always remains. I’m happy that we have emergency phones on campus, and I’m happy that Talk-A-Phone has been here to adapt to any situation.”