New system helps police respond faster to school emergencies

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – Schools have a new tool to help police respond more quickly to emergencies.

COPSync 911 provides police with school diagrams and information that could save minutes and lives in active situations.

“It’s obviously an important issue today. Officers need to be able to get in quickly if there are major issues that would occur and the York City Police Department has taken steps to ensure that does happen,” York police Lt. Erik Kleynen said.

The app would be used by teachers. In an emergency, they can touch an icon which immediately places them into a chatroom with the five closest law enforcement officers as well as dispatch. The cost is about $46,000.

“It’s expensive. Safety, you can’t put a price tag on that. At the same time, there’s limits to what public schools can do,” York Suburban superintendent Dr. Shelly Mearkle said.

Kleynen said it would be more beneficial to schools who don’t have officers in their buildings. York City schools have an officer in each building.

“If a school is fortunate to have an SRO, which is a School Resource Officer, that officer is going to be a key element in those other officers responding because he can coordinate and start taking steps, getting everything prepped for those other officers responding,” he said.

“The question will be does it enhance our communication with police to justify the added expense and training, because it’s not just about the access itself, it’s about training people how to use that,” Mearkle said.

Mearkle said she would consider looking into a program like this.

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