Pinellas schools install ALERT system to decrease police response time in an emergency

The Pinellas County school district tested a new security system Tuesday, aimed at speeding up law enforcement response to an emergency situation on a school campus.

The system is called Active Law Enforcement Response Technology, or ALERT. It gives dispatchers at the Pinellas Schools Police Communications Center access to a school's security cameras, door locks and public address system.

Pinellas schools police chief Luke Williams said ALERT can give law enforcement eyes and ears in a school during an active shooter situation.

Map of Pinellas County schools, seen in the ALERT school emergency system

Map of Pinellas County schools, seen in the ALERT school emergency system

"We're able to quickly understand that there's an issue going on at the school," said Williams. "Our alert system basically ties in all the components that we've put in over the years in our schools for the safety of our kids."

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"Someone can trigger that either through the app or through an actual physical button at the school," said Keith Drummond, CEO of IntraLogic Solutions, which created ALERT. "When that lockdown occurs, what that's going to do is trigger an alert right here in this [Police Communications Center] so that everyone knows the location, the actual school and the location within that school where that alert was triggered."

Screen showing active shooter drill at Pinellas County schools

Screen showing active shooter drill at Pinellas County schools

Pinellas County is the first school district in the state to install ALERT. The district already invested in the SaferWatch mobile app, which operates as a panic button for the staff.

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Alyssa's Law, named for Parkland shooting victim Alyssa Alhadeff, requires Florida school districts to integrate this type of technology in every school. This topic was among the issues discussed during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Commission's meeting Tuesday.

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Mobile app acts as panic button for Pinellas County school staff

"The basic is that you push the button and it goes to the 911 center," said Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, the commission's Chair, who couldn't understand why some districts aren't yet in compliance with Alyssa's Law. He was told some school systems didn't anticipate the amount of testing required to install a system like SaferWatch.

Every month, each school in Pinellas County will test its ALERT system to make sure everyone is ready for the worst.