Albany County Sheriff rolling out school safety plan

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ALBANY (WRGB) - Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple has announced a new school safety plan that will be rolled out in three local school districts. Preparation for the proposal began after the Parkland, Florida school shooting.

This plan will be rolled out for the Ravena- Coeymans-Selkirk (RCS), Berne-Knox-Westerlo (BKW), and Voorheesville school districts, which are the districts within the sheriff's primary patrol zones. The Sheriff's Office hopes to expand the program to other districts and other counties in the coming years.

The initiative is called "PAPERS" - Police And Pupils EnfoRcing Safety - and it includes three parts.

Part One - Implement School Resource Officers to monitor students. Sheriff Apple says RCS and BKW have approved putting a deputy in schools, and Voorheesville is researching the idea further. "We're there to help, we're there to mentor the kids to guide them, maybe down to the guidance counselor." Sheriff Apple said.

Part Two - The Albany County Sheriff's Office has added new "See Something, Say Something" features to their mobile app, that allows anyone to call or text a 9-1-1 dispatcher. "If you hit that button it'll go directly to a live dispatcher who will be able to disseminate that information in real time," Sheriff Apple said. "You can send a video, you can send a picture of the suspect, you can send almost any information you want to a dispatcher in real time." The Albany County Sheriff's Office app is available to anyone on your smartphone's app store.

Part Three - Improve Communication. They'll install two-way radios and panic alarm buttons on school buses and in school buildings (classrooms, cafeterias, the gymnasium, etc) to communicate with dispatchers in an emergency. "This will help if there's something going on at the bus stop or maybe there's a kid on the bus acting violently or making statements." Sheriff Apple said.

The radios also allow dispatch to listen in if the teacher or administrator can't speak out loud. "If they can't talk, maybe it's and active shooter and they need to honker down and can't talk at all, that'll be open and we'll be able to hear what's going on and we'll be able to dispatch our cars appropriately." Sheriff Apple said.

The radios and technology are part of a partnership with Motorola. To start, they'll install the two-way radios on every bus (114 buses) across the three districts, and 19 panic alarm systems will be installed in schools across the three districts.

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