The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors approved a contract between the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office and Mutualink School Safety Emergency Alert System, a technology that provides direct communication between schools and law enforcement during an emergency threatening school safety. The system uses a panic button that allows school staff and administrators to alert police to an emergency and provides a critical 2-way communication channel.
The $150,000 to implement the technology in four Yavapai County school districts is preliminary funding that the Arizona Legislature provides. YCSO chose Mutualink to implement the Legislature’s School Safety Interoperability Program passed last year in response to the increase in school shootings.
Mutualink’s cloud-based platform has two distinct advantages. First, it creates an interoperable, or across jurisdictions, a system where law enforcement and fire agencies, schools, and private community partners can work from the same communications platform. The interoperability will allow the first responders to work with and from the same information in real-time.
The second is that it gives school administrators the ability to instantly share live video, voice, pictures, emergency plans, and floor plans with law enforcement. School administrators need a way to communicate with dispatchers and first responders quickly because of the ever-changing nature of emergency situations, making real-time information critical.
“One difficulty law enforcement has faced with an active school shooting event is the ability to know what is happening inside the school. This new technology will allow us to have eyes and ears inside so we can accurately and quickly respond to the threat” said Sheriff David Rhodes. “School safety is complex, and this certainly does not fix everything however we must begin treating schools as critical infrastructure dedicating enhanced security and collaboration. Our children and community are depending on us”.
YCSO will be partnering with the Cottonwood/Oak Creek School District to pilot the program, with hopes to integrate all Yavapai County law enforcement agencies and school districts into the system with future funding from the Arizona legislature.
“We are very grateful to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office and the Legislature for making this happen,” said Steve King, Superintendent of the Cottonwood/Oak Creek School District. “In this day and age anything we can do to increase the safety and security of our children is appreciated. I am grateful to Sheriff Rhodes for his friendship and his support of schools”.