DENVER — A former Denver Police officer has created an app that connects school staff directly with each other and first responders in the event of a school shooting.
“When it comes to our kids, I think that hits all of us that we got to do something more to protect them than what we’re doing right now,” Brett Titus, the LifeSpot app’s CEO, told 9NEWS.
Titus came up with the LifeSpot technology after more than 30 years in law enforcement. Much of that time was spent on Denver's SWAT teams responding to thousands of active shooting situations.
He took about four years to come up with something he believes will make the response safer for law enforcement and civilians.
“How do we as law enforcement know who’s inside that building?" he asked. "And how do we communicate to everybody to let them know the threat’s not done or it is over and how to get them out and reunify them safely and securely?”
With the LifeSpot app, a teacher who perceives a threat can activate an alert on his or her phone.
Geofencing technology prevents a teacher from setting off an alert outside of a school’s campus.
“Everyone within that school and law enforcement will know there’s a threat and an approximate location of where that’s at in three to five seconds,” Titus said.
“Every teacher and staff member can direct-text law enforcement instantly saying, ‘this is the threat, it’s at my door, etc.’…Then they can make an educated decision: 'Am I far enough away? Should I grab as many kids and other people as I can and flee the area? Or, boy, it’s right on top of me. It may be best to fortify, lock myself in my room and barricade myself in?'”
A subscription to the app also comes with specialized training for teachers to help them make the best decisions based on the real-time information they are getting.
Teachers are trained to use the app to mark their locations and communicate whether anyone is injured.
All of this information is being sent to law enforcement instantaneously.
“We have an idea of where we’re going and what we’re looking at while en route to the schools,” Elbert County Sheriff Tim Norton said. “We know what part of the building or part of the school we need to concentrate on, we know people are getting out. The app is our eyes and ears before we even get there.”
The Elbert County Sheriff's Office is one of 15 law enforcement agencies outfitted with the LifeSpot app.
Fourteen schools and districts within Colorado and Texas have implemented the technology since it went on the market in December 2020.
Kiowa Schools Superintendent Scott Mader made the decision to get the app for his district after a pitch from Titus.
“We had a demo of this, and within the first 10 minutes, the principal and I, we decided this is what we need,” Mader said. “This is us doing everything we can.”
Schools that sign onto the app pay between $0.50-$2 a month, depending on the school size.
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