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New safety tool to help police respond to emergencies installed at Herron High School

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- An Indianapolis high school says it has the latest tool to keep your kids safe.

Herron High School unveiled an emergency alert system on Tuesday that notifies police within seconds of an emergency.

Officials say this is no different than having fire alarms in schools. With just one push of a button, nearby cops would be alerted there’s an emergency playing out. There’s also a chance this kind of technology could soon be accessible to schools all across the state.

“This type of system is needed at any school or any house of worship, or any place unfortunately in today’s environment,” said Herron’s Director of Operations Tim Porter, “because what we have experienced is that we just don’t know what’s going to happen from one day or the next."

The system is called ASR, and it allows nearby police officers to know of an emergency as soon as a button inside a classroom is pushed.

“It’s an immediate notification that goes straight to dispatch and straight to police officers,” said Porter.

The system immediately sends out an alert, which even includes a specific location like a classroom.

“This system automatically communicates all that information and takes all the guesswork out for the responding officers,” said Porter.

Police say the system saves time, even seconds, that can be lost when someone has to call 911 in an emergency.

“Our officers are trained to respond, but the gap between when it [an emergency] occurs and when the officer arrives is something we always try and restrict,” said IMPD Chief Chief Bryan Roach, who was at the school for the announcement.

Herron officials say the system will cost them less than $30,000, with money coming from a state school safety grant. But that’s still a high price tag for smaller schools with limited resources.

Currently, state lawmakers are considering the passage of House Bill 1225. It would create grants for Indiana schools to use on emergency alert systems like Herron’s, potentially putting kids’ safety just a touch away.

“It does allow a better response for officers and a more knowledgeable response,” said Roach.

Herron plans to have a button installed in every classroom and they’re hoping to have the system up and running by the end of the year.

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