Lindsay Marchello reports for Carolina Journal that Hoke County High School in Raeford tested out the Rave Panic Button app in an active shooter drill on Monday.

Rave Mobile Safety designed the app five years ago as a way to bridge the gap between school staff and law enforcement. The app allows a person to instantly alert 9-1-1 dispatchers of an emergency, whether it’s a medical issue or an active shooter. An alert is also sent to everyone in the area with the app. Updates go out as the situation changes.

Todd Miller, COO of Rave Mobile Safety says that several tests of the app have shown that it can cut response time by more than 50 percent.

“One of the biggest concerns in every county right now is school safety.” Peterkin [Hoke County Sheriff] said. “Anything we can do to minimize the threat, to minimize someone getting hurt or killed, is important.”

Peterkin said it’s important not to get stuck in traditional ways of thinking about addressing school safety.

“One thing we have to remember is that most times people who commit crimes do the research. They look at technology,” Peterkin said. “They case out your schools and your neighborhoods. They are looking at new, innovative ways to commit crimes.”

Peterkin said school districts and law enforcement are doing the same by embracing technology to find innovative ways to protect schools.

During the demonstration on Monday, a deputy acted as an active shooter and fired blank rounds in the hallway. Within three minutes of a staff member pressing the Rave Panic Button, 15 law enforcement officers arrived on the scene. Peterkin hopes to integrate Rave with the school security cameras sometime this year.

“Right now law enforcement has to go into the school blind,” Peterkin said. “When we integrate the cameras we’ll be able to see the shooter and get a description, so when an officer goes in he’ll know where [the suspect] is in the building and what he looks like.”

Everyone from teachers to custodians has access to the app. Henderson County schools announced last week that they will also go digital with the Rave app in an effort to protect their school.

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