As many area schools gear up for the beginning of classes, they’re also preparing to make the halls a safer place.
School is meant to be a safe place and that’s why the Albany County Sheriff’s Department is making upgrades to several local districts with new radio systems and even new reporting options on its app.
The start of school is less than a month away and Albany County schools like the Voorheesville Central School District are preparing in a big way.
“I think it’s important for us to continually be reviewing our security procedures and the things we have in place,” Brian Hunt, Superintendent of the Voorheesville Central School District, said.
Hunt says safety has become a bigger priority than ever for educators, especially in light of tragedies like the parkland shooting.
“I do think it’s a multi-pronged approach. You can’t be satisfied with one thing. No one thing is going to solve the problem.”
That’s where new technology comes into play.
“It’s just one push of a button and we’re in contact with emergency responders with the 911 system.”
First responders like Sheriff Craig Apple.
“We always say see something say something but we never give them the means. We’re giving them the means,” Sheriff Apple said.
These panic buttons will be in the Voorheesville Central School District, Berne-Knox-Westerlo District buildings, and Ravena-Coeymans buildings.
“You can call 911 immediately right to our dispatch tell them what’s going on if it’s a kid having a seizure or a kid with a gun.”
The districts will also have portable radios, and perhaps the most progressive upgrade, the systems will be found in the busses too.
“We know exactly where that bus is we will hear it clearly and concisely and we can respond appropriately.”
The best part is that the upgrades come at no cost to taxpayers.
“All of the radios in all of the school buses that we are providing for were paid for with money seized from criminals.”
Sheriff Apple hopes these systems, along with an app for reporting suspicious activity, can make for the safest school year ever.
“They have one of our most vital resources, our kids. We want our kids to go to school and not worry about being hurt and be able to learn.”
All of the upgrades from the sheriff’s department are expected to be finished by the time school starts in September.