Police hope New Mexico schools will sign up for new, high-tech alert system

Posted at: 05/15/2014 6:10 PM
By: Kai Porter, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Police say seconds count when responding to a school shooting. Now, New Mexico State Police are hoping to shorten their response time with a new high-tech app that’ll alert officers almost instantly.

It’s a nation-wide alert system called Hero 911. The smart phone app, designed to alert police if they’re near a school shooting, is already in place at schools in other states.

"Phone lines can get jammed up and 911 can get bogged down,” said Jeremy Vaughan, with NMSP.

“There are all those connections that need to be made. With this Hero 911 app there's one connection. That's between the school and the officers responding and that's it."

Officers can download the app for free and must sign in with their law enforcement credentials to verify they are an officer. In the event of a shooting, school leaders can activate the system.

Hero 911 then sends an alert to all officers in a ten mile radius who have the app on their phones.

"The sooner we get personnel there to address the threat, the more students and faculty we can save," said Capitan Nick Aragon, with NMSP.  He’s hoping schools in Valencia County will be the first in New Mexico to adopt the new technology. In January, Roswell police say 12-year old Mason Campbell walked into Berrendo Middle School and opened fire, injuring two classmates.

That’s one reason why at least one school local district is interested into Hero 911.

"Any situation where we can protect our children and protect our staff and our students is very, very important,” said Jerry Moya with Belen Consolidated Schools. He plans to do more research on the system before making a decision.

It’s free to law enforcement, but there’s a $2,500 set up fee for each school and a $99 monthly fee after that.