SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – School safety remains a priority at East Texas schools.
“We wish we could’ve, you know done more at particular times, but we are where we are now and we have to be the best prepared we possibly can,” said Captain DJ Dickerson with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.
Gov. Greg Abbott recently included school safety and technology upgrades in schools on his emergency items list. Law enforcement officers from 18 East Texas counties met recently and discussed how they can keep students and staff safe.
“Technology since I started in law enforcement in 1976 has changed tremendously, but this is the technology that is going to save a lot of lives,” said Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith.
One of the items mentioned in the meeting was the urgent need for a technology system that can better link first responders. Shelby and Smith were among the counties that attended.
The new technology system is by a company called Mutualink, and Governor Abbot has chosen East Texas as an area to test it. Sheriff Larry Smith explained the new system they are wanting to put in place.
“As they’re responding to the scene, number one they can talk to each other on the same frequency and number two, they can start seeing video, live feed video (with) no delay (of) what’s going on exactly at that time, not only outside the school but also on the inside wherever there’s a camera,” explained Smith.
He said Smith County is in the process of getting Mutualink through the Texas Anti-Gang Center to link Gregg County and Smith County together.
“We could link whoever was responding as they were responding to see the same thing we’re seeing,” said Smith.
East Texas schools are wanting to make sure they are ready for whatever may come their way.
“It’s not a matter of if it will happen, it’s when it will happen unfortunately so it’s a state of preparedness,” said Dickerson.
Smith said he has no doubt this technology could’ve helped people in Uvalde.