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ALYSSA'S LAW: Tulsa schools highlights mobile panic system

tps campus police
Posted at 5:59 PM, Jun 26, 2024

TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma schools are rolling out an honorary school safety law this August.

It's titled 'Alyssa's Law,' after Alyssa Alhadeff, a 14-year-old student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.

As soon as August, all districts across the state will implement a mobile panic alert system in their schools.

Cynthia Ralston, who has four young grandchildren in the Tulsa area, said with the world we live in, having a plan for the worst-case scenarios gives her some peace of mind.

"I don’t think that the world is getting any safer," said Ralston. "I think whatever laws they need to pass to keep our kids safe is probably a good thing.”

Interim Chief of Police for Tulsa Public Schools Donnie Lewis explained that TPS is already in compliance with the new legislation, as they use the Rave Panic Button app.

"We’ve had that in place for about two years, and it’s a really comprehensive panic button system," said Lewis. "If there's an incident that takes place, they open the app, slide a little lock bar and they hold it for three seconds. It puts a geo-pin where they’re located, and then it does an all call so it’s not just TPS that responds, it’s TPD, OHP and our law enforcement partners and then every police officer who works for us, that gives them an all call alarm on their phones and then everybody responds.”

While schools are already supposed to be using something, per a 2022 executive order by Gov. Kevin Stitt, TPS said it's been a challenge for some rural schools to implement the Rave Panic Button app specifically.

Alyssa's Law will allow for schools to create a system that works best for them.

The idea is to sound the alarm at the same time, and get multiple agencies to a site within minutes. With the geofence feature in the Rave Panic Button app, it simplifies communication and gives every first responder the same critical information.

"If we’re all showing up doing the exact same thing and it’s a standardized approach, there’s less human error that’s going to be involved in it," said Lewis. "I think anything that we can do that gets us all responding on the same page, is worth investing in.”

TPS has not had to use their panic button, but Lewis said the practices the program has prompted has been lifesaving in and of itself.

"I mean I think history has proved that... it is a 'when,' not saying it’s a 'when' here or a 'when' at our district, but it is a 'when' nationally," he said. "It’s something that if you’re not prepared for, you’re going to be in a bad position. So that’s our mindset, we want to be prepared, we want to make sure we have these best practices in place, the partnerships with our law enforcement partners in place, so if it does become a when were there and we can respond.”

Only TPS staff have access to the mobile panic system. If you need to report any threat to TPS, call or text 918-480-SAFE 24/7.

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