As students head back to class for a new school year, keeping children safe remains a top concern.
Last year, 40 people were killed and 100 others injured in school shootings across the United States, but an innovative program that simplifies safety is now being used in nearly 2,000 schools across the country to help keep kids safe.
When an emergency happens in a school, response time is critical, so Ivo Allen created 911Inform, a security software designed to connect on-site staff, dispatchers and first responders simultaneously for anything from a fight to a health issue to gun violence.
"We basically connect into the phones in the building, the camera system, the HVAC, all the technology that's in the building," Allen said, noting schools that have implemented the technology have seen a 60% reduction in response time.
The instant access can be life-saving. 911Inform works by notifying school staff before the phone even rings at 911 dispatch.
In a demonstration of the technology, the system immediately picked up a 911 call made by Allen from inside a school and instantly showed where the call came from. The system allowed him to see the location of the classroom, the best route from the nearest door, and it can show live surveillance cameras.
"With one touch I can lock down the building," Allen said.
Police departments receive the system for free when a school district signs up. Depending on the size of the school, the initial investment can be up to $25,000 plus $5,000 a year for maintenance.
School resource officer Kris Sandman brought the technology to Morris County Vocational School in New Jersey after a chaotic lockdown in 2019. As students arrived for school, he received a credible shooter threat and was unable to notify staff who weren't yet on campus.
He says he spends every day thinking about how to keep students safe.