WATSEKA, Ill., (WCIA) — One former police officer from Watseka wants to make sure if there’s a shooting on school property, law enforcement is prepared to handle it within a matter of seconds.
“We know as police officers, as a parent myself, our country’s number one act of domestic terrorism has been coined an active shooter,” Nate McVicker, Guard911’s creator, said.
He is breaking down a barrier that he said is more common than you think. He wants teachers to have a direct line to the police, and the Guard911 app is doing just that.
Iroquois County Sheriff Clint Perzee said Iroquois West and Milford are using it, and Donovan and Cissna Park are working on doing the same.
Perzee said it’s another tool in the tool belt and is proud of McVicker for creating it.
“2012 the massacre in Sandy Hook, the response time was fantastic,” McVicker said. “Police officers were on scene in 4 minutes. However, there were 126 seconds that went by where police didn’t even know about it.”
He said that’s because when the call came in, it rang to the adjoining county and not directly to police.
It was a year later when McVicker founded Guard911 with a team of police officers and officials.
There are two sides to Guard911, on two different apps. School Guard is for K-12 schools and Hero911 is for law enforcement.
McVicker said School Guard is “pretty much a mobile panic button allowed for teachers in the palm of their hand” and Hero 911 alerts officers.
“We are trained as officers to get an alert, and get on scene as quickly and safely as possible and try to mitigate the threat,” he said.
Now, schools across the country in 41 states are using his app. If there’s a dangerous person, he said the teacher would hit the “armed intruder” button, slide over on the app, and click “yes.”
Once they click that button, it calls 911 and nearby officers on the other side of the app get an immediate alert, a loud ringing noise.
Then, they’ll look at the same map the teacher activated.
McVicker said in the app’s 10 years, there have been false alarms and only one true armed intruder call.
Two people were hunting near a school in Florida.
“They were on school property firing a weapon in the air,” he said.
After a teacher pressed the button on the app, an officer was there in two minutes.
He said the app isn’t only for armed intruders. Teachers can also push the button for fights, fires and bomb threats. It can also help with reuniting families with their children during an emergency.