New App Will Alert Emergency Responders Of School Emergency


UPDATED: Tuesday December 10, 2013 9:09 AM

A new 21st century option for school safety is being tested in Central Ohio.

It's a smartphone app that could keep your children safer during the day.

A group of fathers, with children in the Big Walnut Local School District, say they started to notice something at school events.

Like themselves, there were parents present in the building who were law enforcement officers from various agencies.

The group says there is one thing they know about law enforcement officers:

"We are never really off duty," said Kurt Jacobs, Active Threat Alert

Jacobs says it is an untapped resource when it comes to school safety.

"Our training exists whether we are on and off duty, and if there was an unfortunate event that would take place, we'd like to get there as quickly as possible - regardless of whether we are on or off duty,” said Greg Colarich, Active Threat Alert.

To take advantage of that, the group created the “Active Threat Alert” APP.

However, it would not be open to just anyone.

"We actually have an approval process both for the educator side and for the law enforcement side, because we don't want just anyone downloading this,” said Zak Dziczkowski with Active Threat Alert

The app would allow teachers to hit a panic button followed by a pin code. That would send an alert to all law enforcement officers who are subscribed to the service, whether on or off duty, so they can respond to the incident.

The creators of the app say this is not meant to supersede what the leading police department does.

"Basically, what we are trying to do is provide local law enforcement and the school system with a tool they can use to cut down on that response time,” says Paul Welch with Active Threat Alert

Big Walnut Local Schools says the response time is very important.

“When you look at a district like ours, we are 109 square miles,” said Big Walnut Local Schools Assistant Superintendent Angie Pollock, “we know with the research that we've done every second counts in an emergency and just the fact that we can have lots of help there right away, as opposed to waiting on the response time from local law enforcement we think that anything we can do to keep our kids safe we want to do”

Big Walnut Local Schools will be the pilot school district for testing and implementing the Active Threat Alert system.  

The district says it hopes to have the system up and running sometime in January.

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