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CBS4 Investigates: South Florida safety reporting tools at local schools

CBS4 Investigates: South Florida safety reporting tools at local schools
CBS4 Investigates: South Florida safety reporting tools at local schools 03:04

MIAMI – School shootings continue to plague campuses across the country. CBS4 investigated the various safety reporting tools that our South Florida school districts offer to protect both staff and students.

Two of the main reporting tools include Fortify and SaferWatch. Both apps are similar but, SaferWatch has a panic button to alert law enforcement to emergency and non-emergency situations in real time. 

Chief of Miami-Dade Schools Police Edwin Lopez stressed time is of the essence when it comes to these situations.

Lopez told CBS4, "In Miami-Dade County we are prepared to deal with any incident that comes our way. But just because it occurs in Uvalde, just because it occurs in Las Vegas, New York or Connecticut, it still hurts us here."

Most reporting tools allow both students, staff, and parents to remain anonymous. When using Fortify, for example, you select your school, write the incident, you can upload a photo or video and you also have the option to add your name. 

Chief of Safety and Security for Broward County Schools Jaime Alberti says if they are willing, coming directly to a school administrator is always best.

Alberti said, "We have different avenues so students can submit a tip or parents. So, it's important to make sure if they're uncomfortable with something that they see to report it. So, if they see something they need to say something." 

The SaferWatch app and panic alarm system was put into effect in coordination with Alyssa Law. The law was named after Parkland school shooting victim Alyssa Alhadeff. 

Chief Edwin Lopez says apps like this make it easy for law enforcement to respond to situations in real time.

He said, "And just with the simplicity of the push of a button all 911 centers and police command centers and school police headquarters will be notified in real time without delay."

According to education week, there have been 27 school shootings this year alone. 

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