Marietta schools install panic buttons - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Marietta schools install panic buttons

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Police nationwide are paying attention to the latest security measure the Marietta school district is taking. The decision by officials to install "panic buttons" in every school is being hailed as innovative.

School officials said they paid about $5,000 to install the direct link buttons to police. One push and dispatch sends all available units.

"This system is designed that as soon as the button is pushed, it goes directly to the 911 center who can immediately dispatch police units to that school," said Officer David Baldwin of the Marietta Police Department.

Police said the buttons are in all 11 public and 3 additional private schools in Marietta.

"You don't use that button for something you would call 911 or even our other two officers for.  You're using that button only in the case of an active shooter or intruder, or something that needs a massive and immediate response," said Marietta High School Principal Leigh Colburn.

Colburn says the button makes her staff feel a little safer, but she adds that her school has always been in front of the safety technology curve. It was built just after the massacre at Columbine, so hallways and lockers --even the placement of classrooms -- were considered as it was being built.

There are also about a 100 security cameras in addition to two armed officers at all times.

"So we're connected to the police department already 24/7. I just think this is an added feature," Colburn said.

The school's resource officers have iPads which allow them to monitor any cameras as they walk the hallways.

"We can immediately pull up the cameras and see what's going on with that. So it gives them instant access to information anywhere that they are," said Colburn.

It's part of a larger partnership between schools and police to make city schools safer.

"We can't prevent 100 percent of the crimes from happening. Our goal is to make each one of our schools as hard a target as we can to keep it as safe as possible," Baldwin said.

Marietta police say they have gotten requests from departments nationwide asking for help in installing panic buttons in their schools.

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