Penn State University Police adopts essential first responder tool

New technologies expand capabilities to better serve more than 100,000 students, employees and visitors

A Penn State police officer works inside Beaver Stadium. Credit: Korrin HarrisAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — During a manmade or natural disaster, getting messages out can sometimes be hindered due to an overload of communication by those in the area. This roadblock can have devastating consequences if first responders are unable to efficiently communicate with each other and direct emergency resources to the areas that need it most.

To help overcome this obstacle, Penn State University Police and Public Safety (UPPS) is connecting its police officers and other key personnel to FirstNet® — the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to America’s first responders and the extended public safety community.

“With this tech advancement, we are equipping our first responders with new capabilities and reliable access to critical information while in the field,” said Charlie Noffsinger, associate vice president of University Police and Public Safety. “While the University works daily to prevent emergencies, it’s important to always be prepared. This technology will allow us to better serve those who live, work and visit University Park.”

Penn State’s Abington, Altoona, Behrend, Berks, Greater Allegheny, Harrisburg and University Park campuses are already equipped with this essential technology, with plans to roll it out to the remaining campuses where UPPS provides police services over the coming months. Penn State is the largest university in the state using FirstNet.

UPPS is using FirstNet on tablets and department-issued phones. The department also is using AT&T Enhanced Push-to-Talk to improve situational awareness, communications and operations for officers.

In 2019, FirstNet proved valuable during the University’s football season, where games drew more than 100,000 spectators. FirstNet provides UPPS with streamlined communications for UPPS officers and key personnel during football games, including always-on priority and preemption for first responders, whereas network congestion on commercial wireless networks can make it difficult to communicate.

FirstNet is built with AT&T in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority), designed with and for public safety.

FirstNet and the FirstNet logo are registered trademarks of the First Responder Network Authority.  All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

Last Updated May 25, 2021