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Protecting against threats | New app allows LCPS students to anonymously send tips to officers

Mass school shootings have become all too common across our country, but out of tragedy comes new ideas to protect children inside the classroom.

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. — Loudoun County Public Schools rolled out a new app this week called Safe2Talk, allowing students to anonymously report tips directly to law enforcement.

"As of this morning we had 10 tips, and today we've gotten two additional tips, so that totals 12 tips, since we've been fully live for about a week," Loudoun County Sheriff Captain Craig Schleiden said.

Schleiden oversaw the app’s implementation.

"You know, obviously, sometimes adults can be intimidating to children, especially if you're in a uniform," Schleiden said. "So, it kind of gives them the opportunity to have that dialogue with law enforcement, without necessarily revealing their identity."

Credit: WUSA
Loudoun County Sheriff Captain Craig Schleiden has oversaw the implementation of the newly utilized app.

Through the app, students can select what school they’re in and what the problem is.

Students can report anything from graffiti to smoking, the threat of a potential shooter or gun-related issues. 

That tip is directly sent to the Loudoun County 911 Dispatch Center.

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"Safety and security of all of our Loudoun County Public School students, staff and visitors is our number one priority,” John Clark, the director of safety and security for Loudoun County Public Schools said. “Any good security plan is built on redundancies and multiple layers of protection, and this app is a great example of that."

Credit: WUSA
Students can use the Safe2Talk app to anonymously connect with a 911 dispatcher.

Clark said in the app’s first week of use, it has already lead to substantial tips.

"It is working, we just had a great success story this week as a matter of fact," Clark said. "They preferred not to call us and remain anonymous, and they said they would utilize the Safe2Talk app to submit the tip. They did so. And we were able to work with our partners of Loudoun County Sheriff's Office to resolve the issue and the threat within three hours."

That threat turned out not to be serious, but it’s made to prevent a potential major situation.

Schleiden said the department learned of the app after Sheriff Mike Chapman attended a conference following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

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 "A lot of these larger school shootings, and just school incidents we have often had, there's been warning signs ahead of time that people have known about, but just didn't share, so this is an opportunity for us to encourage students to report that anonymously to the sheriff's office and to school officials," Schleiden said.

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