NEWS

Miami Police Deploy Alerting Software at Select Schools

By Matthew Harwood

With the new school year afoot, the Miami Police Department has joined with Miami-Dade Schools Police Department to deploy a new emergency awareness product at select schools that can instantly and quietly alert police when problems arise.

The software-only product called Virtual Instant Alert was pioneered by SituCon Systems of Port Washington, New York, and doesn’t require the schools to buy any additional equipment or install additional infrastructure. It turns the computers already in the classroom or office into life-saving devices, says Situcon Founder and President Seth Cirker.

“When used in a classroom setting, the system can be activated from the touch-sensitive interactive whiteboard by using a wireless PowerPoint-like remote control from anywhere in the classroom or from the teacher’s desk,” he says “In an administrative setting, such as a principal’s or guidance counselor’s office, stepping on a USB footswitch below the desk discreetly activates the system.”

In a press release announcing the system, the two police departments describe the system as an effective way to get a jump on the most nightmarish scenario facing schools, the active shooter.

Upon activation in a classroom or school, police and school administrators are notified within seconds. Responding officers in police cruisers from both departments would receive the critical information they need---those in trouble, where they are, and the fastest way to get to them--from the police departments’ Computer Aided Dispatch systems. Unlike other technologies on the market, according to the press release, the alert transmissions occur without dialing a phone or uttering a word.

Cirker describes his software system as “911 on steroids.”

The software can also be integrated into existing school camera systems, he adds. When activated, the software will automatically bring up the camera feed closest to the alarm and display it.

"In an emergency every second counts," Major Ian Moffett of the Miami Police Department said in the statement. "Providing individuals with the ability to quickly and conveniently alert responders is the future of public safety."


♦ Photos courtesy of SituCon

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