Sheriff’s office to employ new technology to improve school safety
–The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office made an announcement this week regarding new technology to help ensure the safety of our school children. Sheriff Parkinson announced that most public and private schools in San Luis Obispo County now have access to the Rave Panic Button Smart Phone App. This app is designed to immediately alert law enforcement of an active shooter incident on a school campus.
The app provides every school employee the ability to immediately connect to the 911 Dispatch Center for their school and at the same time send a message to the other employees on campus of the incident. Using Department of Homeland Security grants, the sheriff’s office has been able to buy 3,200 licenses of the app to supply every school employee at most every school in the county. If there is an active shooter situation at a school, all the school employee has to do is press a big red button on the app. Not only does it immediately connect them to the 911 Dispatch Center, it also has a GPS function which allows law enforcement to pinpoint the exact location of the incident on campus.
The Rave app is part of a comprehensive plan the Sheriff’s Office has been developing over the last three years. The first step was providing tools for the best training possible for the law enforcement members of the county. This was accomplished through the purchase of the VirTra 300 which is a state of the art use of force simulator and an I-Combat Laser training system. Both of these systems enhance the training regarding active shooter incidents and they are available to all law enforcement agencies in the county.
The second step involved mapping the majority of the schools within our county utilizing a consistent format and terminology. This allows all of the law enforcement personnel who would be responding to an active shooter incident to be using the same maps, protocols and communication standards.
The Rave app is the third step and perhaps the one generating the most interest. We are the first County in California to roll out this new technology.
“I’m confident, if you polled law enforcement agencies around the state, nobody is prepared as we are when it comes to these types of situations,” said Sheriff Parkinson. “It’s unfortunate that active shooter incidents are becoming more and more a part of our lives. I’m hopeful, it never happens here. My goal is to never have to use any part of this plan.”
All three of these steps have been made possible through the cooperation and participation of the seven police chiefs of the cities within the county, the strong collaboration with each school superintendent and school administrator in the County, and the pursuit of federal grant funding from Homeland Security with no costs to the County General Fund.