In the aftermath of tragic incidents involving school-aged individuals in our area and across the nation, Chief of Police Larry W. Tolliver approached Lieutenant J.D. Batten, Jr., the School Safety Section Commander, to inquire about what measures the Anne Arundel County Police Department’s School Resource Unit was taking regarding school safety. Chief Tolliver directed the unit to enhance communication between the School Resource Unit officers and students, and gave the unit the authority to be as creative and innovative as needed going forward. As a result, the Anne Arundel County Police Department is pleased to announce a unique Smartphone Application designed by the School Resource Unit and intended to give Anne Arundel County students another method to anonymously provide information to our Police Department.
The free App, entitled “AACOPD Speak Out”, is now available through Google Playstore (Android products). It is expected to be available for download via I-tunes (Apple products) on or about Wednesday, October 17, 2012. The free App is now available in an Internet-based format at the following address: http://aacopdspeakout.myapp.
From the Internet version above, the user can either click a link or scan the QR code provided and place the App directly on his/her phone. The app allows users, specifically young people accustomed to using Smartphone apps, to quickly and anonymously e-mail School Resource Unit officers and supervisors with any questions, concerns or notifications about at-risk behavior. Students are being encouraged to “speak out” when they or a friend are being bullied; when they know someone needs help, and when they know someone is threatening others on-line, by text or by other means. Although the app clearly indicates it is not an emergency response system, it provides students a way to provide information to SRO’s that may have otherwise never been disclosed. Armed with this information, School Resource Unit personnel will work closely with school officials and other stakeholders to be proactive and interdict dangerous behavior.
For students attending schools where no SRO is assigned, information sent via the app will be screened by School Resource Unit supervisors and directed to the appropriate police, school or social service system for follow-up. The primary app designer, Corporal William Davis, a nine-year SRO currently assigned to Old Mill High School, utilized his extensive knowledge of school students along with his technical expertise to develop this innovative product. Lieutenant Batten will be the point of contact for further media inquires at 410-222-0040.