Bay Path ups its security game with a new app for mobile devices

CHARLTON – Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School is about to launch a mobile app designed to enhance communication between the school and emergency personnel during a crisis.

InForce 911 security service purports to reduce police response time and increase real-time communication between police and school staff.

“With the addition of this product and the other changes we have made in the past year, I believe that our safety has been strengthened considerably. Having said that, we remain ever vigilant,” Superintendent-Director John A. Lafleche recently told the school committee.

The mobile device application is the latest security tool adopted at Bay Path in partnership with the Charlton Police Department.

Mr. Lafleche said cost to the school is $2,400 for the first year, and $1,800 each year thereafter. Charlton Police Chief Graham S. Maxfield said the town’s cost is $600.

Software installation is underway at police headquarters, and Lt. Daniel Dowd is undergoing training to, in turn, educate other officers.

The plan, Mr. Lafleche said, is to launch the program in early January.

During its introduction to the school committee in October, Mr. Lafleche said a consortium of area schools and organizations, led by the Southern Worcester County Communications Center, had been reviewing emergency communications systems.

In Force Technology was highly rated by the group, he said.

When a school employee triggers the app, an alert is sent directly to the Charlton Police Department, whereas a 911 call goes to regional state police dispatch, where minutes are lost to rerouting.

Police receive details down to the number of the classroom initiating the alert and school-specific information, such as a building schematics.

The mobile app alerts all school staff to the crisis. A chat room opens where real-time detail is shared among police and staff, such as an intruder’s location and whether it’s safe for students to flee.

The program also offers a reverse alert feature, allowing police to inform school administrators of potential threats in the area.

The Bay Path school district serves Auburn, Charlton, Dudley, North Brookfield, Oxford, Paxton, Rutland, Southbridge, Spencer and Webster.