The SAPD practiced with an active phone app for answering shooters

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Schools, businesses, and churches can subscribe to the app, which allows users to trigger an alert that would put them into contact with 911 while simultaneously notifying everyone else at the location about the shooter and police officers who have the app. After the alert is sent out, the teachers or employees on-site can mark off if they’re injured, if they were able to flee, or if they had to hunker down and “fortify” where they are. Their locations are sent to 911 or police, with whom they can also message directly to give information on the shooter.

San Antonio police are adding another tool to their arsenal in the hopes of improving officer response times in active shooter scenarios. On Tuesday, members of the SAPD’s SWAT unit met at a church in northwest Bexar County to test LifeSpot, a mobile software designed to reduce reaction times and better control the chaos at the site. According to SAPD, the training was planned before the Uvalde school massacre. “This might cut reaction time by two to three minutes.” “Imagine how many people someone might kill in one, two, or three minutes,” said Lt. Mark Molter of the SAPD Special Operations Unit.

Highlights

  • SAPD will be able to use the app for free, but schools or other organizations that want to use it would pay a monthly subscription, which Titus says costs between 30 cents and “a couple bucks” per user, depending on the number of users. Molter said the app would not bypass 911, and SAPD still has protocols in place. “If a school doesn’t have this — school district doesn’t have this — we have active shooter protocols. If we lost all internet connection and we had no way to — we have active shooter protocols that we fall back on, and we continue to do what we’ve been trained to do,” Molter said. SAPD plans to move ahead with using the app, though only SWAT will have it for now. Chief William McManus said it would “probably” be a discussion the department would have with SWAT commanders about whether they should roll it out to all SAPD officers.

  • The idea is to allow more information to get through to police in a situation that would typically prompt a flood of 911 calls and possibly overload a dispatch center. “Especially in smaller jurisdictions, you may have one, maybe two dispatchers of people that take that call. So you have 100 people, and some of them may have very life and death — pertinent information they can’t get through,” said LifeSpot CEO Brett Titus, a former Denver Police Department SWAT officer.

McManus also said that “at first blush,” he thought it was a good app, though there would need to be more conversations with SWAT about how the app works before the department recommends it to schools or other organizations. Titus said the company has “thousands” of individual users in Colorado and has just expanded into Arizona. McManus said SAPD would be the first police department in Texas to use it. ‘Active shooter’ message sent to parents further muddles law enforcement timeline of Uvalde school massacre. Gov. Abbott issues disaster declaration after 21 killed, several wounded in Uvalde school shooting Funeral arrangements for Uvalde elementary school shooting victims KSAT 12 observes 21 minutes of silence on social media for the 21 victims killed in Uvalde

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