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Broward Students, Teachers Can Report Suspicious Activity On New App

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FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) - The start of the school year came with new measures to secure schools and enhancements for student safety.

Limiting points of entry, upgraded video security systems, student ID badges, and an armed law enforcement officer at every school were just a few of the changes.

The Broward Sheriff's Office wants to make it easier to report anything that seems out of the ordinary that could be deemed suspicious. So they've launched the SaferWatch app.

"This is one part of a plan we have been working on for months," said Sheriff Scott Israel.

The SaferWatch app gives students, parents and school staff the ability to send text, photo, video, and audio tips about possible school threats directly to sheriff's investigators. The app also automatically tags the location of the incident so investigators know where its happening

Instances of bullying, perceived threats, or suspicious activity in hallways, classrooms, or school courtyards can be reported as they happen.

Once sheriff's investigators receive a tip, the information will then be routed to the appropriate people - whether its law enforcement or school administration.

Using the app's geofencing technology, organizations and law enforcement are able to send mass alert notifications to users based on their location.

"We are making this available to all public private and charter schools in Broward," said Major Jonathan Appel.

The app is available at Apple's App Store or at the Google Play Store.

The sheriff's office said they are waiting to see what app the State of Florida will launch related to school safety to see if their app is compatible and will make adjustments accordingly. They emphasize that this is not a replacement for 911 and in the case of an emergency that should be the first number called.

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