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App developed by former St. Louis County police officer looks to increase school safety

Responder App works by allowing educators to text directly with responding officers without dialing 911 in the event of an emergency.

ST. LOUIS — It took responders in Uvalde, Texas, over an hour to confront the shooter at Robb Elementary.

Now there's hope that an app developed by a former St. Louis County police officer could cut down response times and save lives.

In the aftermath of the school shooting at Robb Elementary, law enforcement agencies and school districts across the country are working together to improve the way they keep your kid safe at school.

“Obviously in Uvalde there was a breakdown,” said Sgt. Brian Rossomann of the Jefferson Co. Sheriff’s Office. “There’s a standard across the board nationwide of how law enforcement is supposed to respond to active shooters. That’s the concept of directive threat. Go direct to the problem, stop the source of the violence, and then start rendering aid to people who need it.”

“The response time to these school shooting incidents is in need of improvement,” said Dana Kay Goddard, a spokesperson for the Responder App.

Dana Kay Goddard believes she’s found a way to streamline the response process using an app.

“Communication breakdowns continue to happen,” said Goddard. “Responder App exists for the sole purpose of being able to empower our educators and local law enforcement to have open and direct lines of communication.”

Responder App, which was developed by former St. Louis County Police Officer Tony Malik, works by allowing educators to text directly with responding officers without dialing 911.

“This is critical real-time information in situations that none of us want to imagine,” said Goddard.

Goddard says this information could save valuable time in the event of a school shooting.

“Seconds absolutely save lives,” said Goddard.

Though the Responder App isn’t expected to launch nationwide until the fall of 2022, more than 27,000 people have already signed up for the free app.

“We’re going to focus here in St. Louis first,” said Goddard. “In one of these worst-case scenarios there’s no room for error.”

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