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Papillion-La Vista schools add 911 radios to all schools

Posted at 5:46 PM, Oct 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-03 18:46:20-04

The direct line between the Sarpy County 911 call center and all Papillion - La Vista schools should allow police to respond to an emergency faster, while also hopefully giving them a better handle on what's going on.

"In an emergency situation we know seconds matter and that is the ultimate goal here is that it's going to save us seconds which we know could potentially save lives if there really was an emergency," says Annette Eyman, communications director, Papillion La Vista schools.

To save those precious seconds Papillion - La Vista schools partnered with Sarpy County 911. So now if an intruder comes into school, a staff member assigned to the emergency radio hits an orange button, allowing the 911 call center to listen in and relay information to responding officers what's going on. 

"Whoever's carrying that radio is probably going to give us the most accurate information of what's going on at the time," Steven Young, lieutenant, Papillion police department.

In the past, staff members dialed 911 on a landline phone from an office. The new system gives them mobility to get to safety, while ensuring they connect with police. 

"In a case of a crisis, those cell phones have a tendency to jam up towers in the area, making it impossible for administrators to use the phones," says Young,

Staff members at Carriage Hill Elementary have held countless drills on emergency situations. Today they added one more and the practice paid off, and they learned the radio can be a bit loud.

"Now knowing that the orange button makes that beep, I think that we may change our plan a little bit and she may leave the office to push the orange button so that not to escalate the situation," says principal Kelcy Tapp.

Now administrators plan to re-group and work out all the kinks in case they need to use the system.

The school district has also been adding additional locks to front doors and classrooms since they passed a bond issue in May, making them some of the safest in the area.