Central Falls schools first in state with new emergency alert system


CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) — New technology is making it faster and easier for teachers to alert officials to an emergency or danger in school — without having to call 9-1-1. The classrooms of Central Falls public schools are the first in the state to install the alert system.

The program, COPsync911, developed by a Texas company, lets a teacher click one button on their computer screen or tap one button on their cell phone to alert police, all other staff members, and emergency dispatchers to a school threat.

“I think it’s one of the best tools we’ve been able to adopt in our city,” said Central Falls Mayor James Diossa this week. “This will allow us to communicate with any teacher or anyone in the classroom, and give real time information to any police officer that’s near the location.”

Central Falls school superintendent Victor Capellan says the idea is gaining a lot of positive feedback from teachers and students. “We want to be able to have as much preparedness [as possible] — to be able to cut down on response time and save lives,” he said.

Threat alerts go to the computers inside police officers’ patrol cars, and a map pops up looking inside the school so no time is wasted figuring out where the threat’s coming from.

School safety has been a strong concern since the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in 2012, when a gunman killed twenty children and six adults. Officials hope the technology will help prevent a similar tragedy.

The company says Central Falls is the first school district in the country implementing COPsync911. Diossa said he hopes other communities adopt the technology too.

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