Fires and active shooters: There’s an app for that at Bergen school
There's an added layer of protection for a worst-case scenario at Bergen County Technical Schools.
New for this year, courtesy of the Sheriff's Office, is an app that helps emergency responders work on the same page in the event of a fire or an active shooter.
When the app, GXP, is activated on an officer's phone or device, they can see the whereabouts of every other officer on the scene or in the area. And the app is equipped with specially-mapped layouts of the school buildings that make them easy to navigate — even for someone who's never been inside.
A spokesman for the Sheriff's Office said the move was prompted by a "sad recent history" of school shootings elsewhere in the country. In addition, the number of officers assigned to the district has doubled for the 2018 academic year, the Office said.
About 600 cameras are set up throughout the district for security purposes, according to Assistant Superintendent Andrea Sheridan, who serves as the district's liaison with police.
The cameras' recognition technology can flag and track an individual who may not belong on site, or seems out of place.
"I think when you put as many things in place as possible, I think we all feel secure," Sheridan told New Jersey 101.5. "The kids feel secure; the parents feel much more secure."
For a few years now, district staff members have been wearing safety badges that have the ability to contact the 9-1-1 command center within seconds. The badges can be used for communication within a building as well.
Several school districts throughout Ocean County signed on to the same school-mapping program in 2017.