“Hero911” app developed to help with school shooting response time

By Jim McCabe on May 18 at 8:03am

A new smartphone application aims to cut down on the average police response time for a school shooting.

The average shooting lasts less than thirteen minutes, but the average response time is nearly 18 minutes. Our reporting partners at WICS ABC Newschannel 20 say all teachers and staff would get access to a panic button they can activate on their smartphone should there be a shooting with this app.

Once that button is pushed, 911 is immediately called. But before dispatchers can even answer the phone, an emergency alert is sent out to officers in the area.

Jacksonville Police Chief Tony Grootens says the alert tells police the location of the initial threat based on GPS.

“So it takes time and stress away from the dispatchers knowing that they’re going to be contacted, the officers are going to be contacted, via their smartphones,”  he says.

Grootens says there’s once concern.

“The concern would be, if there is a concern at all, that you get the number of people going there where law enforcement, local law enforcement, may not know the other law enforcement officers,” Grootens says.

But retired Illinois State Police Colonel and app developer Mike Snyders says law enforcement will see all of the locations of every law enforcement officer in the area.

“On duty or off. Every federal, state, local county. All jurisdictions at the same time,” Snyders says. “And this app in many cases can speed the response time by a good 60 to 90 seconds.”

The application has been now downloaded by law enforcement in all 50 states. At least 10-thousand police officers have it on their phones.

But in order for that two-way communication to work, schools have to have the app too. It will cost them $99 a month, plus a $2,500 setup fee. App developers hope schools can implement the cost of the app into their security budget and have it running in many school districts by next school year.

FULL STORY: Smartphone App to Reduce Emergency Response Time