MARYSVILLE - School safety is on everyone's minds, but the Marysville Police Department says it and the county are ahead of the curve and can issue a lockdown in a matter of seconds.
The Marysville Police Department was the first in the country to use Catapult EMS, an interactive, emergency notification system that lets law enforcement communicate with schools very quickly and effectively.
“The quicker we can get information out there or the quicker that we can receive it, that saves lives,” said Marysville PD Interim Chief Christian Sachs.
It's a two-way communication platform. The police department can put a school on lockdown and staff will get a phone call and a text message saying what to do.
But the system CEO says perhaps even more importantly, any school staff member can also report a problem and the district can then issue a lockdown.
“It automatically alerts law enforcement, it alerts the district representatives, it alerts everybody on campus and lets them know there is an active shooter,” said Catapult CEO Jason Jeffery.
And Sachs says it really works. One time he got a notification on his phone about an emergency situation at a school and says he was already ¾ of the way there before dispatch could get the information out.
The system is integrated with the school roster so teachers can start accounting for students right away, which helps because in the very end police need to account for only a portion of the students and not have to start from scratch.
It also tracks the teachers on a map so officers know exactly where everyone is and can give them real-time instructions.
But the whole idea is to be proactive rather than reactive, so the system has a way for anyone to, completely anonymously, go online and report someone for bullying or make some other type of report.
“It’s working. The anonymous bully report has been more effective in getting not only more information about bullying but also more information about potential shooter situations,” Jeffery said.
He believes people are more likely to report something from their computers online rather than having to walk into an office and filling out a form where there is still a certain amount of accountability.