NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — An app available to the community gives parents and students a direct line to Homeland Security.
“School safety is something Tennessee’s Office of Homeland Security has been concerned with now for years,” said Greg Mays, the director of the state agency.
Images from the deadly Uvalde, Texas school shooting and the highly scrutinized police response has the attention of many law enforcement agencies.
Mays explained his office has been called to assist in the coordinated statewide response to school security following Governor Bill Lee’s executive order.
“He ordered that law enforcement across the entire state standardized their response to these types of incidences, and he wants to make sure that all the officers have the proper training,” said Mays.
Additionally, Mays is focused on a tool that helps his office do what he claimed it does best – prevention.
“It’s important for us to make a big push, with the Safe TN app,” he said.
The app comes in response to an observation.
“Every time something like this happens and we look backward, we find all these people who say there was something wrong with that guy, we knew this was going to happen. The question is, why can’t we get that information sooner and do something about it?”
And, Mays said we can with a tap on the screen.
Safe TN is a free app that community members can use to provide tips to Homeland Security.
The app firsts asks if there’s a life-threatening emergency, and if so to call 9-1-1. Then, it allows users to share anonymous information about a variety of safety concerns like suspected shootings or suicides.
The app has already proven useful. Mays said tips are coming in, including one warning of a student who planned to bring a gun to school.
“We immediately contacted the local police department and the school resource officer,” Mays explained. “The kid got into some counseling. Now, whether he was really going to bring a gun to school, who knows? but he didn’t,” said Mays.
The app helps thwart tragedy and gets help to those who need it.
“I would encourage parents to sit down, help them download the app. explain what it does, and create an environment where kids feel comfortable reporting,” he said.
Mays said much more will be shared on this topic.
“You’re going to see me and others talking about school security a lot as the school year gets underway, but that doesn’t mean we’re fearful to go to school, it just means we’re working hard to make sure that nothing bad happens,” he said.