GRAYSON COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7)— Grayson County schools have implemented life-saving technology that can significantly cut down response times in an active shooter situation.
“When you have an active shooter situation, time and efficiency saves lives,” said Superintendent Kelly Wilmore. “We felt that this is something that could get us ahead of the game a little bit, ahead of the curve as far as safety for our students and our staff.”
That’s why the district decided to launch an app called IN FORCE911 to help police pinpoint the exact location of an emergency on any school campus.
“School safety has always been one of my top priorities,” said Sheriff Richard Vaughan. “This just supplements our security system here and makes it just about as good as it can be.”
With the tap of a button on any device, teachers can send out an alert within 12 seconds, notifying dispatch and any off duty officers nearby. Even if they don’t confirm the notification, help will still arrive.
“If they’re off duty and they’re passing the school and they’re armed, they will be responding as well,” Vaughan said.
Vaughan said it typically takes two to three minutes to send help when you call 911, so this technology reduces response time significantly.
“Any time you can respond to a scene quicker especially when it’s a school where there’s children and staff and faculty there. It’s going to save lives,” Vaughan said.
IN FORCE911 also provides an ability to chat through a messaging system. Vaughan said this only makes that response time even more efficient.
“It’s invaluable to an officer responding to the scene to get the description of the subject, to maybe find out how many of them there are, where they’re at in the building,” he said.
Grayson County now joins Montgomery County, Pulaski County, Northampton County, Amherst County and Bedford County in the commonwealth and hundreds of communities across the east coast with this technology. The schools and sheriff department split the installation cost at $6,000 each for the equipment necessary.
“If we do need it, we’re prepared,” Vaughan said.
In a statement to WDBJ7, the company’s President and CEO Brandon Flanagan said:
“IN FORCE911 is a real-time answer to a long-time problem of senseless acts of violence. The software is the way of the future because as we’ve learned, reducing law enforcement response time will ultimately save lives as the software simultaneously streamlines communication from the point of contact, back to first responders. Collectively, it’s our responsibility to prevent these targeted acts of violence from occurring within our public and private schools. We’re proud to announce this partnership with Grayson County and appreciate their leadership and unwavering dedication to improving school safety!”