Southeast Organizations Collecting Cell Phones to Give 911 Access to Endangered Women



April 20, 2005 – The Criminal Justice Association, Phi Alpha Social Work Honor Society and the student chapter of the Missouri Association for Social Welfare (MASW) at Southeast Missouri State University will be collecting used cellular telephones April 21-23 to donate to the Cape Girardeau Women’s Safe House.

The organizations will be accepting cellular phones and battery chargers along with cash donations for the Women’s Safe House. The drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 21-22 on the first floor of Crisp Hall at Southeast.  The drive will take a community-wide focus April 23, when cell phones will be collected from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the main entrances of both Westfield Shoppingtown and Wal-Mart Super Center in Cape Girardeau.

The phones will be given to disadvantaged women who have a high risk of danger and may not be able to afford a landline telephone, allowing them access to emergency 911 services.  According to a spokesperson for the Cape Girardeau Women’s Safe House, all newer cell phones are capable of dialing 911, provided the battery works.  This 911 capability occurs regardless of service, so any cell phones people are left with after upgrading are still capable of dialing the number.  For this reason, the phones are said to be very beneficial to those who have been victims of abuse.

Safe House officials also say they can return cell phones in poor condition or that are old, along with their accessories, to the manufacturer to be recycled. The Safe House benefits from recycling proceeds, officials say.

The idea for the drive came after Criminal Justice Association (CJA) Vice President Julie Myers purchased a new cellular phone.  Her household had several out-of-service cell phones, she said, and, out of curiosity, she contacted a local wireless phone provider to ask what they do with such phones.  Myers says she was redirected to the Women’s Safe House. She later decided a drive to support this cause would be beneficial.

The Criminal Justice Association is an organization composed of interested students who are contemplating careers in law enforcement, corrections, juvenile justice, probation and parole or any other facet of the profession.  The student chapter of the Missouri Association for Social Welfare (MASW) is dedicated to providing “the leadership, research, education and advocacy to improve public policies and programs impacting the health and welfare of all people in Missouri.”

The Chi Lambda chapter of the Phi Alpha Social Work Honor Society at Southeast is an honor organization dedicated to high standards of training, excellence of scholarship and the distinction of achievement in social work.

For more information about this drive, contact the Department of Criminal Justice and Sociology at (573) 651-2541 or the Department of Social Work at (573) 651-2004.