PARAMUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Some hi-tech tactics with an emphasis on keeping students and staff safe are being experimented with at a New Jersey high school.
As CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport reported, what some are calling a big, new innovation in high school security is only about the size of a matchbox and weighs just 2 ounces.
But for the 95-person staff at Bergen County Technical High School in Paramus now wearing the wireless devices — walkie-talkies of sorts — it is a game changer in the quest to keep students and staff safe in the event of an emergency.
“It’s instant access to security,” said Andrea Sheridan.
With a push of a button, the device lets the staff talk directly with the school’s in-house personnel and alert authorities if there is trouble, Rapoport reported.
Tap the button twice and the message goes directly to the school’s administrators and campus security officer who can immediately respond to you. Location software in the device lets security in the school know exactly where the call for help came from.
Hold the button down for five seconds and the call goes to a dispatch center which sends police officers directly to the scene — no questions asked.
“We automatically know there is a situation, we know the location and where it’s at in the school,” explained Bergen County Police Capt. Mark Lepinski.
In the wake of atrocities like the recent school shooting in Washington, the security badges — part of a pilot program at the school — are a welcome addition for the teachers and students.
“As a teacher it definitely gives more piece of mind. In the past you would have to run back to your desk and pick up a phone to call for help,” said science teacher Liz Henriquez.
“It’s there for emergencies and it helps with the emergencies,” said senior student Timothy Trinidad.
The school district said the devices cost $300 each — $54,000 in total for the entire program. More than half of that cost was paid for by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security.
If deemed successful, the program could be extended to other schools in the district.
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