NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The clock is ticking for school districts to apply for a grant that would pay for state of the art panic alarms inside schools.
It may have been the only part of the emergency response to the Uvalde school massacre that went right.
Moments before the shooter entered Robb Elementary, silent panic alert technology, known as SPAT, was activated which sent info and an alarm to other school staff, as well as authorities and administrators.
“Raptor Alert was utilized as the alert process that the principal initiated a minute before the guy walked into the building,” said David Rogers with Raptor Technologies. “Unfortunately, doors weren’t locked.”
That lapse along with a lack of action by responding officers overshadowed the effectiveness of silent panic alarms that the state is offering pay for if school district’s apply before a December deadline.
“Pretty much every district is going out there and looking to get this technology,” said Rogers. “I think if you don’t, you’re risking the lives of your staff and your students.”
Former DISD Police Chief Craig Miller is a proponent of the alarms that can immediately initiate lockdowns or evacuations by anyone with the school who has authorized access to an app, from teachers to even bus drivers.
“I think the ability to immediately make contact with administrators and law-enforcement to get people going to the right location, not just going to the school but we know a specific classroom where that panic alert has been set, I think that will help us,” said former Dallas ISD Police Chief Craig Miller.
Raptor Technologies is one of a handful of companies that provide the silent panic alarms and says only about half of North Texas school districts have them.
Many rural districts don’t because the systems cost about $1,900 per school.
Quinlan ISD told CBS 11 they will be among the districts applying for a grant to install them on its four campuses.
“With this grant, there’s certainly no excuse not to embrace this technology,” Rogers said.
The state is offering each school district in Texas a minimum of $200,000 to improve safety. The deadline to apply for this grant is December 12.