Education Service District 105 use of technology has found new ways to keep schools safe

ESD 105 use of technology has found new ways to keep schools safe. (Picture provided by Education Service District 105).

YAKIMA, Wash.- With technology always advancing people are forced to adapt if they want to stay ahead. School security systems are no different.

The School Safety Operations & Coordination Center or the SSOCC has put together one of the most advanced security systems and partnered with local law enforcement.

Any emergency responses that happen in the area around the schools are marked and the people monitoring the SSOCC can let the school know if there's any real danger.

Chris Weedin is the School Safety Technology Coordinator for ESD 105 and said knowing what's going on around the school is the first step to keeping the school safe.

"People really just want to know that there is a plan, that there is a plan in place and there is someone there to turn to when you need help," he said.

Weedin and his staff can even monitor social media by the school's request to make sure there are no signs of possible trouble.

"When you look back historically over the acts of violence and a lot of the tragedies that have happened there have been indicators that are obvious or subtle in social media and texting communication," he said.

The SSOCC is able to monitor about 23 different schools and let them know what is going on in the area. All they have to do is fill out an Inpointe alert, which is a description of what's going on and it will alert the local response teams.

The Inpointe system is a mobile app that can keep school and law enforcement up to date with alerts right on their smart phone.

Naches Valley Elementary just received their Inpointe phase 1 certification and superintendent Duane Lyons said it gives the school a chance to be ready for anything.

"If I see something happening right now. I can get on our Inpointe software and within a minute I can know: who's responding, who's available in the building and how much help I got right now,” he said.

The school had to run multiple mock drills to make sure everyone on staff knows how to use the new software in the time of need.

School leaders aren't the only ones that benefit from all the technology. Chief Robert Udell of the Yakima County Sheriff's Office said it's like having another dispatch center in case of an emergency.

"It's a big upgrade to school safety, because it adds the communication piece, because no matter what. If the wheels fall off the bus at a school event, communication is going to be absolutely key," he said.

The SSOCC gives law enforcement all the information they need before they arrive at the scene and Udell says it makes all the difference.

"If we can actually look inside, we can't event put a dollar figure on that," Udell said.

It's a high-tech security system that allows the children of this area to safely attend school and work toward their futures.

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