Linn-Mar Community School District uses app to better prepare for possible threats

The CrisisGo app allows district employees to stay in contact and use real-time alerts in case of an emergency situation, as well as contact the Marion Police Department.

As schools across the nation continue to try and provide better building security for students and staff, the Linn-Mar Community School District is turning to an app to keep everyone safe. CrisisGo is the district's newest tool to warn about threats. District leaders say the Linn-Mar High School principal used the app back in August when the school was under a lock-out after a social media threat.

"At the high school, where you have a very large staff, he was able to get a hold of every single staff member quickly," said Leisa Breitfelder, the executive director of student services with the Linn-Mar Community School District.

Linn-Mar High's principal was able to get in touch with his faculty members in a matter of seconds. More than 25 different alerts can be sent through CrisisGo, stemming from food poisoning to bomb threats. The app sends real-time alerts to individual schools or to the entire district. Most importantly, it keeps faculty members connected.

"We can also talk back and forth with each other. It looks like a text messaging system so we can be talking to the teachers," said Breitfelder.

The app also connects the district to the Marion Fire Department and Marion Police Department.

"CrisisGo is immediate. They sound out at an alert and I'm going to get every alert that's available to a Linn-Mar school building and respond accordingly," said school resource officer Tom Daubs.

Officer Daubs is currently the only officer with the Marion Police Department to get the alert, but with it he says it's easier and fast to act than it would be to call 911 and go through a dispatcher.

"As I'm responding I can radio responding units of the police dispatcher," said Officer Daubs.

CrisisGo works both ways, meaning the department can also notify the school district is they receive knowledge of a threat first.

"Depending on the emergency or the timeliness of the issue, I can send the alert to them or call them," said Officer Daubs.

District leaders plan to work with the Marion Police Department to get the app on more phones within the next six months. The goal is to have the app available for parents by the start of the next school year.

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