The app consolidates all suspicious activity reporting into a single app. ProtectOK is available for free download in the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Del City athletic director and head football coach, Robert Jones has witnessed two school shootings in the past year, which have been traumatizing for both him and his students. The most recent shooting was at Choctaw High School’s football game with Del City.
“You hear some banging, you hear like a couple of bangs,” said Jones. “In my mind, I was like, no way this is happening again.”
Another recent shooting that pushed Oklahoma leaders toward implementing the app was what happened at the Oklahoma State Fair in September.
“That was a terrible feeling,” said Sarah Stewart, Director of Media Operations for the Department of Public Safety.
Stewart had two of her own children at the state fair when gunfire broke out.
“It makes me angry that that’s where we are in society and that we have to worry about that and that our kids have to experience that,” said Stewart.
The new ProtectOK app could eliminate shootings before they happen, allowing more people the opportunity to report suspicious activity.
“Everybody’s got a smartphone now and has the ability to simply log onto the app and have access to it,” said Tim Tipton, Oklahoma Commissioner of Public Safety.
Tipton said the ProtectOK app would allow anyone to anonymously report suspicious activity 24 hours a day.
“They don’t have to look up a phone number or decide what agency they should send this to,” said Tipton. “Not only will it save lives, it saves manpower.”
Once downloaded, the user can hit the red “report now” icon and immediately send information to law enforcement. It also have safety tools that will share locations with authorities and let friends and family know if a person is OK if they were in the middle of a shooting or threat.
The app is part of a program with the “If You See Something, Say Something” Campaign from the United States Department of Homeland Security.