An app in schools could lower 911 response times and save lives

Local News

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Bay District Schools is partnering with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office to keep students and staff safe from crime.

School safety personnel and Bay County law enforcement attended an active shooter preparedness seminar. Both agencies use communication app technology to save lives proactively.

The School Guard app is designed to help shed seconds off response times if the BCSO ever gets a call about an active shooter situation.

“When you look at the Parkland shooting, we could have been notified earlier,” said retired Coral Springs Chief of Police Tony Pustizzi. “The first calls we did get was from a student inside the school on her cell phone.”

Pustizzi’s agency was the first to respond to the Parkland school shooting in 2018. 17 students and staff were killed when a gunman opened fire.

“And that was really a wake-up call for us,” said BCSO Sheriff Tommy Ford. “That next morning, Superintendent Husfelt, Chief Jones and myself met to talk about, you know, what we needed to do more to address this type of, this potential, hoping that it never comes here.”

Within two weeks, Bay District Schools and the BCSO set up the School Guard app.

School officials and law enforcement can download the app to act more proactively instead of reactively. Once the shooter threat button has been activated, it alerts every staff member in the school, and it calls 911 as well as the FBI.

“Guard911 is awarded a contract through the department of education in the State of Florida, where they have mandated every school public and charter have an operable mobile alert emergency system by the start of the school year,” said Guard911 President Nate McVicker.

To learn more about Guard911 and apps created to quicken law enforcement response times, visit their website.

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