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Pinellas County Schools to implement new safety suite ahead of school year

Law enforcement will have access to real-time cameras to make decisions.

LARGO, Fla. — In the event of an emergency at Pinellas County Schools, law enforcement will have real-time access to cameras, door locking systems and a public address system.

The suite of technology is part of the Active Law Enforcement Response Technology, or ALERT, which the district says it's the first in Florida to have it installed ahead of the upcoming 2022-23 school year, according to a news release.

Officials say they partnered with IntraLogic Solutions, the company that creates the platform, in 2019 to roll it out district-wide.

According to its website, ALERT allows law enforcement access to live cameras inside school buildings, which authorities can then watch to decide which doors to remotely lock and unlock. And, if necessary, law enforcement can speak directly with a perpetrator over the building's public address system.

"While PCS has complied with the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, ALERT is a safety measure the district voluntarily added to help provide students with a safe learning environment and give parents peace of mind," the district said in a news release.

The new system was recently tested in July during an active shooter training drill at a Pinellas County elementary school. Its cost was not immediately provided.

Local law enforcement has been undergoing training exercises ahead of the upcoming school year as part of their overall preparedness. The drills have become especially vital since the mass shooting on May 19 in Uvalde, Texas, in which 19 students and two teachers were killed.

Officers were criticized for their "egregiously poor decision-making" — hallway surveillance video showed no one making entry into the classroom where children were held hostage for more than 70 minutes.

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