APS using technology to improve school safety | KOB 4

APS using technology to improve school safety

Kassi Nelson and Marian Camacho
February 21, 2018 03:36 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Social media was abuzz Tuesday with rumors of a school shooting at Volcano Vista High School and Tony Hillerman Middle School, but Albuquerque Public Schools officials said there was no threat to either APS school.


Rather, the district said the threat was made in a different state to a school with similar initials. The threat made its way to social media in New Mexico and created a scare among students and parents. Officials said the threat was not made in reference to either Volcano Vista or Tony Hillerman.

Police say there were also rumors at Volcano Vista. Police did provide extra security at both schools as a precaution.

APS, meanwhile, is beefing up security in the aftermath of the recent school shootings. It's a plan that has been years in the making, and it has evolved with input from school districts around the country.

"We're not rushing out, putting things in place and hoping they work," APS Police Chief Steve Gallegos said.

Thanks to $5.6 million from a voter-approved bond/mill levy, that plan can be carried out. Officials say students at all schools will soon see updated cameras and intrusion alarms. That means any threats would go to the police immediately. Staff will even have card key access to exit doors.

"What we're moving toward is keeping those doors locked and secured so people can't just come in and out of the schools unauthorized," Gallegos said.

Officials say these changes are a challenge since most schools were built to be open and welcoming.

"On one hand, we're saying we want warm inviting places that we want children to come to. But at the same time, we want to restrict that," APS Chief Operations Officer Scott Elder said. "So it's a delicate balance that's part of a national conversation."

While the new technology will hopefully work to prevent violence in Albuquerque schools, APS Superintendent Raquel Reedy said the district can't do it alone. Reedy asked parents to make sure their guns are locked up and if you have a child at home who is distressed, get them help.

"We're doing the best that we can, but we don't want to do it alone," she said. "We need your help and support in making sure citizens step forward if they hear or see anything."


Kassi Nelson and Marian Camacho

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