SAN ANTONIO, Texas – When a violent and active threat occurs, such as a school shooting, it is absolute chaos. The 911 system quickly overwhelms, clogging communication lines and wasting valuable time. The new technology aims to link communication between the people inside the building and the responders.
One Tuesday morning in San Antonio, a team went through simulation training. They used fake weapons and no one in that situation was in danger.
It was planned at a local church before the recent shooting at a school 90 minutes away in Uvalde, Texas.
This active shooter training used new technology that gives responders eyes and ears in the building where they claim people are in danger.
In this situation, a mobile phone application allowed people inside to have direct communication with the police.
The LifeSpot app is intended to speed up response times and improve communication by connecting law enforcement directly to victims. Lt. Mark Molter is with the San Antonio Police Department. He highlights the biggest feature of the app: saving time.
“Being able to see where everyone is and ultimately the injured. We’re trying to stop the killings and then try to stop the dying,” Molter said. “Seconds matter, minutes matter. When you call 911, the police will respond and receive that call, but it may take a minute, two minutes, three minutes before that call is forwarded to an officer.”
Schools, shopping malls, corporate buildings and churches are all examples of groups that can use this system. Peter Banus is the Director of Safety for Church and School 247 San Antonio.
“Before one of the active shooting incidents that took place in a church, we were kind of like ‘yeah, it’s not going to happen here,'” Banus said.
He says preparation is crucial for every CE.
“It’s a force multiplier for any organization that has staff, children, colleagues,” Banus said.
Details of churches and other properties are saved in the app in advance. In the event that someone triggers the alarm, the app notifies other personnel, the 911 center, firefighters, EMS, response officers and commanders of what is happening,
“Having this information is paramount and we don’t have it right now without this app,” Molter said.
Technology is useful. Creator Brett Titus says that when someone sends the alert, it only takes 6 seconds for officers to be notified.
“It’s geo-fenced, so we’ll draw a line around school property, around church property, it only works when they’re there,” Titus said. “You have three buttons – 911, chat and hurt. (As opposed to waiting for the dispatch to ask questions, get the info, get the address, get the location, you’re already on your way.”
With agencies in Colorado and Arizona already using the technology, deals are underway in Nevada, California, South Carolina, Michigan and Massachusetts, San Antonio police have seen the value in this product it almost a year ago.
“It’s been in place for months. We’re not here because of the horrible tragedy at Uvalde,” Titus said.
Nearly 30 years in Colorado law enforcement have shown Brett why more technology in dire situations can be the key to saving more lives.
“How much more?” What is the number, how many more children? said Titus.