The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

March 11, 2014

County considers school shooter warning system

Daviess County authorities are exploring ways to fund a new system to help police respond more quickly in the event of a shooting at one of its schools.

The School Guard system was developed by some Illinois State Troopers and the Daviess County Commissioners are working on a way to fund the program so that it is available to every school in the county.

“I’m really sold on this,” said President of the Daviess County Commissioners Tony Wichman during their Monday meeting. “It will cost about $20,000 to $25,000 a year to get started but if it winds up saving the lives of some children it’s well worth it.”

Washington Police Captain Tim Guy explained the way the system works and why it would help police respond to the nightmare scenario of someone with a gun in a school. “In the school guard system every teacher would have an app on their cellphone they could hit for an active shooter,” he said. “That would automatically send alerts to all the teachers and administrators in the school alerting them, and send out an alert to every police officer within 20 miles of the school.”

Authorities say the School Guard System has advantages over a traditional E-911 call, starting with the time officers on the street are notified. “In the Newtown, Connecticut shooting it took 90 seconds from the time the 911 call came in before officers were notified,” said Guy. “In this system we would know within two seconds.”

The system also includes maps of the school so that when police respond they know exactly where they are going. “Police have changed the way they approach school shootings,” said Guy. “It used to be that they would wait for a SWAT team and try to set up negotiations. Now, the first officer that arrives is heading directly for the trouble spot, and so are the others who get there behind him.”

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