Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown has been trying to beef up school security for several years.
He wanted to deploy more school resource officers, but that proved to be too expensive.
“I determined that I had to find an alternative,” said Brown.
The alternative is “CopSync,” a mobile application for smart phones and tablets.
People who work in Bedford County schools will get the technology. When used during an emergency, teachers and staff can send details about their location and the nature of the threat directly to 911 dispatchers and deputies in the field.
“What’s very unique about this is that it goes out to law enforcement officers in the field and dispatchers in 15 seconds or less,” said Brandon Flanagan, CEO of the company that operates the app, Brandon-CopSync.
Flanagan says the software works faster than an average 911 call and transmits more information.
The sheriff’s office is working directly with school administrators to get the technology inside classrooms.
“We want to make sure we are taking all of the steps necessary to prevent any senseless tragedies like what we’ve seen in other areas,” said Bedford County school superintendent, Doug Schuch.
Bedford County schools are first in the state to use CopSync. Virginia’s attorney general plans to monitor the program and possibly recommend its use in other school divisions.
“We’re proud of the fact that Bedford County is leading the commonwealth through this,” said Deborah Bell, community outreach coordinator for Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring.
The technology is costing Bedford County more than $84,000. The sheriff’s office and Bedford town police department are covering the cost with additional funding from the Bedford County Board of Supervisors.