PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. – Student safety is always a priority for schools, and Pittsylvania County Schools have found a new way to improve it.
Working alongside the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office, the district is finalizing a deal with a vendor to digitize school maps for law enforcement to use.
Currently, if a crisis situation such as an active shooter or natural disaster were to occur, officers would need to find someone with the crisis management packet containing a printed version of the school map.
Superintendent Mark Jones said the goal is to eliminate the middle man.
“This allows a deputy to really have a quick picture of what the school looks like. So they don’t have to principal or get with someone... a secretary to say where exactly has this emergency taken place,” Jones said.
Sheriff Mike Taylor went on the PittCo Happenings Podcast to discuss the difficulty authorities face when looking at printed maps.
“In times past if you had an emergency at one of the schools, you had to unroll the engineering designs. You almost had to be an engineer or an architect to read what was in there,” Taylor said. “These digital files will help law enforcement and emergency personnel respond quickly and effectively during a crisis.”
Law enforcement and first responders will be able to overlay all of the layers together in one view or split them up to view them separately.
A quick and effective approach like this one can sometimes mean saving more lives.
While Superintendent Jones said there aren’t many safety concerns in their schools right now, you can also never be too careful.
“I think you can never be too...never I guess be satisfied with the safety. You have to keep improving that,” Jones said.
The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services is providing reimbursement of up to $3,500 for each of the 21 schools in the division, totaling $73,500. The schools can use the money to hire a vendor to come out and look at current maps of the school and digitally turn them.
Pittsylvania County Public Schools hopes the project will be almost completed, or completed already, by the beginning of the school year.