SAN ANTONIO, Texas — When a violent, active threat occurs, such as a school shooting, there is pure chaos. The 911 system quickly overflows, causing lines of communication to get clogged and losing valuable time. New technology aims to link up communication between those inside the building with responding officers.
On a Tuesday morning in San Antonio, one team went through a simulation training. They used fake weapons and no one in this situation was in danger.
It was planned at a local church before the recent school shooting 90 minutes away in Uvalde, Texas.
This active shooter training used new technology that gives responding officers eyes and ears into the building where they are pretending people are in danger.
In this situation, a cell phone app allowed the people on the inside to have direct communication with police.
The LifeSpot app is meant to speed up response times and improve communication by connecting law enforcement directly to victims. Lt. Mark Molter is with the San Antonio Police department. He points out the app's greatest feature — saving time.
"Being able to see where everybody is and ultimately the injured. We are trying to stop the killing and next stop the dying," Molter said. "Seconds matter, minutes matter. When you call 911, the police will respond and they'll get that call, but it could take one minute, two minutes, three minutes before that call gets dispatched to an officer."
Schools, shopping centers, corporate buildings and churches are all examples of groups that can use this system. Peter Banus is the safety director 247 Church and school in San Antonio.
"Prior to any of the active shooting incidents that took place at a church, we were sort of 'yeah it's not going to happen here,'" Banus said.
He says being prepared is crucial for every community entity.
"This is a force multiplier for any organization that has staff, children, colleagues," Banus said.
Details about churches and other properties are saved in the app ahead of time. In the event of someone triggering the alarm, the app notifies other staff, the 911 center, the fire department, EMS, responding officers and commanding officers of what's happening,
"Having that information is paramount and we don't have that right now without this application," Molter said.
The technology is purposeful. Creator Brett Titus says when someone sends the alert, it only takes 6 seconds for officers to be informed.
"It's geo-fenced, so we will draw a line around the school property, around the church property, it only works when they are there," Titus said. "You have three buttons — 911, chat, and injured. (As) opposed to waiting for dispatch to ask questions, get the info, get the address, get the location, you're already on your way."
With agencies in Colorado and Arizona already using the technology, deals are pending in Nevada, California, South Carolina, Michigan and Massachusetts, San Antonio police saw the value of this product nearly a year ago.
"This has been set up for months. We are not down here because of the horrific tragedy down in Uvalde," Titus said.
Nearly 30 years in Colorado law enforcement have shown Brett why more technology in terrible situations can be key to saving more lives.
"How many more? What's the number, how many more kids?" Titus said.