SV schools, police take high-tech safety approach
by Press-Banner
Oct 03, 2013 | 1920 views | 0 0 comments | 127 127 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In an effort to promote the safety and security of the students of Scotts Valley’s schools, the Scotts Valley City Council — absent councilmembers Dene Bustichi and Stephany Aguilar — voted unanimously Wednesday night to approve a one-year trial run with Silicon Valley-based Resiligence Inc. for the TipNow service.

The program provides the community an anonymous outlet to pass along tips of potential crimes via phone or online mediums. The tips are then forwarded in realtime to law enforcement and school officials through a smartphone app.

The decision to try the program out for a year came of the heels of a Friday, April 12 incident where someone made a threat — later determined to be a hoax — against Scotts Valley High School on Facebook, prompting a school closure.

“We’ve been looking for what else we can to maximize safety in our schools,” said Scotts Valley Police Chief John Weiss.

Weiss said that the Resiligence’s program also sweeps social media networks, including Facebook and Twitter, scanning for keywords to pass on the law enforcement.

“They have these keywords that they look for like ‘drugs,’ ‘bullying,’ and ‘shooting,’” Weiss said. “It’s publicly accessible information they’re looking at.”

He said that he hopes the ease and anonymity of the program will encourage more people to report suspicious activity.

“Sometimes people are hesitant to call the police if they think their information isn’t reliable,” Weiss said.

The cost of the program is $2,500 for the year, Weiss said. A third of that amount will be paid out of the police department’s asset seizure funds, while the remaining two-thirds will be covered by the school district and the Santa Cruz County Office of Education.

For more information about Resiligence, Inc. or TipNow, visit www.tipnow.com

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