West Point schools use Guard 911 app to keep schools safe

Mary Rumore
Staff Writer

Faculty and staff at West Point schools and law enforcement officers began using the Guard 911 smart phone app this year to help protect the schools from violent intruders.

Tim Fowler, assistant superintendent of operations for West Point Consolidated School District, said the average time of a school shooting was 12 and a half minutes, and the average police response time to a school shooting was 18 minutes, but the Guard 911 app significantly decreased the response time by law enforcement because it automatically notifies law enforcement officers of a shooter or intruder in a school.

“Let’s say you’re in your classroom teaching and you hear gunshots,” Fowler said. “You then activate the app on your phone. Once you activate the app, it notifies all law enforcement officers within five miles of the school whether they are on duty or off duty to respond to the violent threat.”

Fowler said the app also notifies 911 dispatch and everyone else with the app so that all schools can be placed on lockdown when it is activated.

Fowler said faculty and staff, including custodians and cafeteria workers at all West Point schools have the app on their smart phone. Law enforcement officers have a version of the app called Hero 911 that is free for them to use.

Fowler said he presented the idea for Guard 911 to the school board before the school year started, and the funds for it were put into the budget for the 2016-2017 school year. The initial set up cost $1,500 per property, but Church Hill Elementary School and South Side Elementary School counted as one property, and West Point High School was considered one property. The app costs $99 per month per property.