Police use 'SchoolGuard' app to improve safety
PLEASANT GAP - Schools across the nation are adopting new security measures making it harder for an intruder to get into the building and easier for faculty to alert others about problems.
Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology wants to improve how police communicate with teachers and staff if an emergency were to happen.
They've recently instructed all their faculty to download the SchoolGuard app on their cell phones, which alerts hundreds of people of an emergency just by tapping a button.
"Time is always of the essence," said Spring Township Police Chief Michael Danneker. "Minutes count when we have an active shooter, so it's important we utilize every minute we have."
When the button is pressed, police get an instant visual of the area and pinpoint locations on where people are in the building. All on or off-duty officers in the area will get notified.
Richard Makin, president of CPI, said getting this app for teachers was an obvious decision.
"It didn't take me much time to decide we need to take a close look at it," said Makin. "In the times we live in we need every tool in our toolbox to ensure the safety of our faculty and our students."
Teachers can also feel confident the button cannot be accidentally pushed while at home, setting off a false alarm.
"Anywhere on school property, the app can be utilized," said Shane Dickey, the CPI school resource officer. "Once you are at home, if you open up the app, or if your kid accidentally hits it, you cannot set it off because it uses the phone's location services."
CPI is currently the only school in Centre County to use SchoolGuard. However, Spring Township police said other officers in the area are looking to get school districts in their jurisdictions to start using the app as well.