Loudoun County, VA- As the safety of our children is a top priority, this year the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) in coordination with Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) introduced the Safe2Talk app to allow anonymous reporting of issues that threaten the safety of our schools.
After the deadly Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, FL, Loudoun Sheriff Mike Chapman attended a Department of Homeland Security conference in Washington, D.C., to review the circumstances that led to that tragic day. There he learned of an app called Safe2Tell being used in Colorado to receive anonymous reports of threats in their community. He felt this would be a valuable tool to apply in Loudoun. “We have to be innovative in today’s world in law enforcement, and developing this application is a proactive way to receive tips here in Loudoun. It will immediately allow us to vet information in order to address issues rapidly,” said Sheriff Chapman.
Safe2Talk is a free downloadable app that can be used by students, parents, teachers, and residents to report safety concerns in our schools. The app allows users to choose the school where the issue is occurring and the type of incident. The user is provided options through drop-down menus for incidents such as alcohol and drug use, dating violence, weapons, sexual misconduct, graffiti, hate crimes, physical abuse, suicidal behaviors or any other actions that threaten a student’s safety or the safety of others.
All reports through the app are monitored 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week by dispatchers in the Loudoun Sheriff’s Office Emergency Communications Center. In cases of imminent threats, LCSO patrol deputies and School Resource Officers are immediately dispatched to the threat.
Providing information through the app will assist Loudoun County Public School security personnel, School Resource Officers, and investigators in determining the validity of the information, help minimize the spread of false information and allow for an appropriate follow-up. “The safety and security of all students and staff is Loudoun County Public Schools’ highest priority,” said Dr. Eric Williams, superintendent. “We encourage students to ‘say something if they see something,’ and this app is intended to make that easier.”
Studies have shown that at least one other person had some type of prior knowledge of an attacker’s plan of targeted violence in schools. “The Safe2Talk app empowers students and provides those are reluctant to come forward to play a critical role in keeping schools safe without the fear of retaliation,” said Loudoun Sheriff Mike Chapman in an informational video developed by the LCSO on Safe2Talk. The video can be viewed here.
The app will also contact School Resource Officers from the Town of Leesburg Police Department who are assigned to middle and high schools within the town limits.
The app is available through the Apple App Store and Google Play.