Two New Mexico schools are getting a new tool to better respond to emergencies, including potential school shooters.
The first schools to get the technology are in San Juan County where a deadly school shooting happened just over a year ago.
The Dec. 7, 2017 shooting at Aztec High School took the lives of Casey Jordan-Marquez and Fernando “Paco” Fernandez.
Today, people don’t have to look far in the small city to see its work to overcome the hurt of the past year, with the city’s mantra “Aztec Strong” seen on store windows, spray painted on building walls and on billboards.
“The legacy of Casey and Paco is in our hands and it’s up to all of us to continue to make change,” Aztec Municipal Schools Superintendent Kirk Carpenter said.
Wednesday, the Attorney General’s office introduced a new line of defense to help protect the district from another senseless tragedy.
Attorney General Hector Balderas revealed active shooter response technology through an app for school staff called the Rave Panic Button.
“Once that button is hit for an active shooter, all of the administrators are alerted so that they can immediately take action,” Attorney General Press Secretary David Carl explained.
Additionally, law enforcement is notified about the emergency and is given access to the school’s floor plan and camera system.
This will be implemented first at Aztec and Bloomfield high schools.
“Having an app like this is going to be something that’s going to help first responders,” San Juan County Sheriff Shane Ferrari said about the need for better communication.
Balderas wants to eventually expand the technology to every school in the state and wants the governor and legislature to fund it.
“We shouldn’t be waiting for those one-time capital outlay appropriations. It’s just backwards,” Balderas said.
“I can’t hope fast enough that it gets out to other schools, not just ours,” one female student said.
The San Juan Communications Authority said it’s footing the bill for this system, but won’t say the cost, claiming it negotiated a great deal.
They add that Farmington is looking to be the next campus to get the technology and that Santa Fe County also wants to put it in its schools.
The district said it will start training its staff immediately on the app, but couldn’t say when it will be implemented.