BRIGHTON, Colo. (CBS4)– The 27J School District has given a familiar tool an upgrade in the effort to keep kids safe. The technology has been around for decades but it’s being viewed as the most effective way to communicate between schools and police- the two-way radio.
“We had a lockdown last spring,” Shelly Genereux said.
Genereux is the principal at Brighton High School where staff and administrators rolled out new digital two-way radios earlier in the year. She said it’s made calling police for help that much faster.
“As soon as they got here we were able to bridge and talk to them in terms of where they had personnel.”
Now with the push of one button on the handset school officials can now talk with other schools as well as law enforcement about a potential threat.
“Dialing 911 getting a hold of a dispatcher talking them through the situation,” Genereux explained used to take more time.
The school district was able to purchase 359 new inter-operable radios through a grant from the Colorado Division of Homeland Security. And though they have not been tested in any recent crisis situations, some like Bree Moth, a principal at South Elementary thinks it has made some teachers feel better prepared to respond to an emergency.
“Teachers love radio I think it really gives them a sense of safety and security because it’s immediate feedback,” Moth said.
Sam Ortega with the Emergency Response and Crisis team for the district said teachers are help provide the eyes and ears for school safety and now they have a much better tool.
“Able to spread them throughout the schools opening up a great circle of communication,” Ortega said.
Even if the internet goes down, the radios are expected to work, giving school staff a reliable option to call for help.
“Especially in an emergency situation where you’re on lockdown, you’re not going to be sitting in the office talking on a phone,” Genereux added.
Now 27J is not the only school district that has the new radios, CBS4 checked around, and we heard back Jefferson County, they told us they’re transitioning to the new two-way radios soon.