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May 2014 Advances & Applications

Where do the good ideas come from?
In this column, we offer our readers the opportunity to learn about—and benefit from—some of the cutting-edge technologies being implemented
by law enforcement colleagues around the world.

Bradley County Schools Launch TIPS Safety Platform

The Bradley County, Tennessee, school system has implemented a new program to help keep children safe.

TIPS (Threat Assessment, Incident Management and Prevention Services) is an award-winning web-based risk management and incident reporting platform from Awareity. The TIPS platform is successfully being used in school districts across the United States to identify, prevent, and effectively intervene in threatening behaviors.

TIPS provides an avenue for all students, parents, staff, and community members to safely report disconcerting behaviors, suspicious incidents, or general concerns to school staff. Concerns which may be reported include bullying, cyber-bullying, weapons, drug or alcohol use, vandalism, threats of violence, suicide risk, sexual harassment, abuse, and truancy.

“TIPS is a tool to be utilized by school administrators and law enforcement to increase awareness of student safety and concerning behaviors within our schools,” said Scotty Hernandez, Bradley County Schools safety and security coordinator. “This tool has the potential to detect, deter, and disrupt unwanted behavior or criminal activity.”

TIPS does not take the place of emergency services, but it does provide all stakeholders in Bradley County Schools another avenue to deter or disrupt unacceptable behaviors or illegal activities.

“If someone has information about concerning behaviors or suspicious activities that could potentially jeopardize the safety and security of students, faculty, or staff, the individual can access TIPS from the Bradley County Schools’ website and report that information,” Hernandez said.

Reports are reviewed by school administrators and school resource officers (SROs). Reports can also be shared with SROs at other locations in the event of bullying between students at different schools, on the bus, and so forth. Since its implementation, the SROs have taken advantage of TIPS to keep track of over 400 reports, ranging from daily log activities, custody issues, and juvenile citations to teaching DARE and making arrests.

Funding for TIPS in Bradley County Schools is through a Safe Schools grant. The system can be accessed through the school’s website by visiting and clicking on the TIPS: Report Incident logo.

For more information, visit

Sheriff’s Office Uses Twitter to Save Hours on Shift Call-outs

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office recently freed up hundreds of employee hours a year by allowing deputies to learn about shift vacancies using the simplest of tools: Twitter.

Sergeant John Naccarato noticed the usual system for filling shift vacancies was time-consuming; a Community Service Officer (CSO) spent hours calling a long list of deputies to see if any were interested in filling shift vacancies.

“The CSOs would have to call the deputies, who might be asleep or on vacation,” recalls Naccarato. “There had to be a better way.”

That’s when Naccarato hit on a call-out system that used Twitter, the free social-messaging service.

Hours spent with a phone and a spreadsheet were replaced with the typing of a single Twitter post, or “tweet,” about a shift vacancy. Deputies see the new tweet—and the shift opening—and call in if they're interested in filling the vacancy.

“We set up private Twitter accounts for each shift,” explains Naccarato, “and then we assigned private Twitter accounts to participating deputies. The deputy Twitter accounts follow the shift Twitter accounts.”

“All the CSO has to do now is log into a shift Twitter account and send out a single tweet about a shift vacancy. The deputies see the tweet about the vacancy and call in if they’re interested.”

After a successful trial run, the system was implemented on a larger scale at the sheriff’s office. Time savings proved enormous for CSOs. “Instead of spending three hours of a 10-hour shift calling a list, the CSO now spends 30 seconds composing a tweet, hits send, and waits for the call,” explains Naccarato. “It frees the CSOs up to interact with the public, work on warrants—all the things we really need.”

For more information, visit or

Haystax Launches National School Safety Cloud

Haystax Technology, Inc., announces the launch of its National School Safety Cloud, an integrated portfolio of online software applications that enables school districts and their public safety partners nationwide to securely manage their school safety operations and data in the cloud.

“[The Haystax School Safety Cloud] provides us with a much greater level of situational awareness in and around schools in our region. Having emergency plans, floor plans, and key personnel information literally at our fingertips and viewable even when we’re on the move saves critical time during an incident response,” said Gary Coons, Chief of Indianapolis Homeland Security. “Even during non-crisis periods, the Haystax system is an ideal tool for preparedness planning, training, and drills. It allows us to partner with education officials to make our schools safer.”

The web-based and mobile apps in the National School Safety Cloud are accessible to all authorized users, providing a shared and continuously updated picture of the school security environment and seamless coordination during a crisis, as well as integrated software tools like custom safety assessment forms and field alerting apps.

School safety engages a wide cross-section of the community, from students and parents to teachers and superintendents, plus a range of public safety officials and government administrators, policy makers, and legislators. Diverse stakeholders constantly strive to understand the broad threats and risks facing all schools in their areas of responsibility, as well as the aspects of the security environment unique to each school. The School Safety Cloud enables them to do both by providing the information they need, when they need it.

From the smallest school districts to the largest states, authorized users of the School Safety Cloud can do the following:

  • catalog their school facilities, with detailed site descriptions, location data, contact information, and more;
  • upload vital documents like floor plans and emergency plans, plus photos of key personnel and facilities;
  • conduct safety audits and assessments, which can be customized to match existing assessments mandated in many U.S. states, and can generate automated written reports on the threats and risks facing each facility;
  • schedule and manage events such as school community activities and emergency drills;
  • Report and track incidents in and around schools using a variety of news sources and emergency dispatch feeds, plus alerts from a mobile reporting app;
  • Dynamically and continuously monitor school-related threat data from social media networks and other digital sources.♦

For more information, visit



From The Police Chief, vol. LXXXI, no. 5, May 2014. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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