School District: “The good news is the app works for sure and generates an amazing response from law enforcement. Our apologies for the false alarm.”
ERYN DION News Herald Reporter @PCNHErynDion
PANAMA CITY — An accidental triggering of the new active shooter alert app School Guard triggered a “massive” police response Tuesday morning to M. Cherry Elementary School.
When triggered, the app alerts all law enforcement within a certain radius to a possible active shooter or other emergency at a nearby school. School Safety and Security Chief Mike Jones said the district had just started using the app Monday and only two schools were set up to use it, one of those being Cherry Street.
Jones, who received the alert on his phone during an interview with The News Herald, immediately called the school, who said they had accidentally triggered the alert when they thought the app was in test mode. Jones then called Panama City Police, Panama City Beach Police and his own officers to let them know about the false alarm and to stand down, while his dispatchers called Springfield and Parker Police, and the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.
When contacted, Panama City Police said the alert caused a “massive” response on their end. About eight minutes after the alert went out, 37 law enforcement officers in the area had acknowledged the alert and were ready to or were actively responding.
“This shows that it works,” Jones said, after everything calmed down.
On their social media accounts, Bay District Schools let parents know what had happened.
“The good news is the app works for sure and generates an amazing response from law enforcement,” the account tweeted. “Our apologies for the false alarm.”
Cherry Street Elementary School was testing our new School Guard app this morning but the testing window was closed and a real alarm went out. The good news is the app works for sure and generates an amazing response from law enforcement. Our apologies for the false alarm.
— Bay District Schools (@BayDistSchools) March 6, 2018