Q13 FOX Season of Giving

Safer Schools: Seattle Public Schools can track police and fire calls in real time

SEATTLE  -- Say there is a robbery and a suspect is on the loose. Seattle police may not be the only ones keeping track of what’s going on.

Mike Wells is on the front lines of disseminating information but he’s not in law enforcement -- he works for Seattle Public Schools.

“We have two-way communications with SPD,” Wells said.

Any time a serious call comes in within a half a mile radius of any Seattle school, administrators are alerted immediately.

“If SPD is busy dealing with the incident and hadn’t had an opportunity to let us know, we are ahead of the game,” Wells said.

The technology they are using is called Safepoint and it allows SPS to see police and fire data in real time.

“If it’s a bank robbery that’s within two or three blocks of the schools, we have to alert several schools,” Wells said.

That way if kids are outside, they can rush back in and, depending on what’s going on the district, could even help police find suspects with their cameras.

“We were able to direct SPD 'somebody left westbound,'" Wells said.

Wells says this kind of codependency among schools and police is unique and smart

“If they need something, they can come to us and vice versa,” Wells said.

SPS has more than 1,400 cameras at their schools that they can watch in real time 24/7.

Wells says people try to break into schools after hours all the time but their network of cameras often lead to arrests.

“It does because we can actually identify them with the cameras,” Wells said.

It’s also another way to quickly locate a school shooter if it ever happened.

“It scares me but I know we are doing the best we can,” Wells said.

If a school is under attack, the security staff from the district’s headquarters can monitor what’s happening in real time.

They can pull up a map of a school to get an inside look at specific parts of a school.

“If they say he’s on the north stairwell, then I can go to the north end of the school and pop that camera -- it shows me that stairwell,” Wells said.

It’s extra eyes and ears that many may not know is there.