New Software System Lets West Schools Call Police Without 911

These days it can often be hard for parents to feel safe leaving their kids in someone else's care, even at school.

While some school districts are debating arming school administrators and even teachers, a new way to alert the cops to danger is making its way into central Texas schools.

With a 4-year-old son at West Elementary and a 5-month-old headed there in just a few short years, Kaylee Pustejovsky is always a little on edge.

"The safety of our kids is the most important thing," she said. "I worry about it every day."

So the new COPsync system going into West schools next month is already easing her mind.

"Just knowing that at the touch of a button, they could contact 911 emergency" is a huge relief, Pustejovsky said.

It's just a small software upgrade going onto about 250 computers across the district. Open the program, and one click alerts the five closest peace officers to the school.

"Whether it be West Police Department or McLennan County Sheriff's Department," or any other law enforcement nearby, said Marty Crawford, West ISD superintendent.

They can even type in exactly what the threat is and keep the cops updated if the situation changes.

"Before they ever step out of their patrol car, they know what they're stepping into," said Norma Keeton, marketing manager for COPsync, who came to West Tuesday to introduce the district to the system.

School floor plans and lock down procedures are also sent to the cops.

The goal is eliminating the need to dial 911. Instead of having to talk through a dangerous situation, a couple clicks and the cops are on their way.

West joins about 50 other districts here in Texas to get the system. Waco schools will be getting it this fall, too.

It'll cost about $1,200 a year per school, but for parents like Pustejovsky, it comes down to one thing.

"I would feel more at ease," she said.

Even more so, since alerts are sent to cops cell phones too, just in case they're not in their cars.

There's a 15-second delay between clicking and the alert going out in which teachers can cancel it if need be. That's in case it was an accident or a prank.

West ISD is piloting the program for free the next two years, saving them about $14,000 in installation and operating costs.

No word yet from Temple or Killeen on whether they plan to look into similar systems.


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