Computer Program Aids Communication During Potential Active Shooter Situations

 Pulaski County schools may soon be cooperating with the Sheriff’s Department to increase safety and improve communication.

Sheriff Jeff Richwine explained the proposal to the Pulaski County Commissioners, Monday night. In it, a contracting company sets up a digital “fence” with an “app” available for download onto student and teacher mobile devices.

A computer program is linked with the app, and allows teacher’s three options. Among which is to press a button alerting law enforcement and students to a possible active shooter situation. Richwine says he has already required his deputies to download it onto their cell phones.

“If one of these go out from the school, any policeman within 25 miles of that school gets notified that there’s an active shooter at the school,” says Richwine.

Officers are then able to respond through text to those-in-need about when they’re en route, and how they will be dressed: some may be off-duty.

This speeds communication between the event in real time and officers that may be responding to the scene. Richwine compared this system with using dispatch during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in which it took more than two minutes for officers to be notified.

Jasper and Porter Counties are already in the process of implementing the technology with their school corporations. Richwine says his plan is to pay for the upgrades through his Commissary Fund.

“The cost of it was $1,000 for each building,” says Richwine. “Winamac has two buildings. West Central, since they have the elementary and high school connected by the glass, they said we’ll count that as one building. So we’re talking $3,000 to set up the program and then there’s a $99 per month fee that keeps it active.”

Both school corporations have met with the Sheriff’s Department to review the proposal and may take official school board action.

The technology is anticipated for implementation in the near future after receiving approval by the Pulaski County Council.