Better safety is coming to children in our state with the launch of the ProtectOK app for reporting school safety threats.
Created by the State of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma School Security Institute, the app allows Oklahomans to easily and anonymously report suspicious activity to law enforcement. Ninety-three percent of school shooters planned their attack in advance, underscoring the need for preventative reporting measures.
“Gun violence is the number one factor in child death in our country, which we find totally unacceptable,” said Tim Tipton, Commissioner of Public Safety for Oklahoma. “ProtectOK was created to be a simple, free and anonymous way for people to bring threats forward to law enforcement so we can quickly intervene to save lives.”
In four out of five school shootings, at least one other person had knowledge of the attacker’s plan but failed to report it.
The app consolidates all suspicious activity reporting into a single, easyto- use app. ProtectOK is available for free download at the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Oklahoma has experienced multiple highprofile public shootings in recent months, including one that occurred during a football game in Choctaw and resulted in one death. Del City was the visiting team that night, experiencing their second shooting at an athletic event in just seven months.
“Kids deserve to go to school and feel safe, to feel safe going to watch a football game. Parents should feel safe that when their kids go to school, they don’t have to worry about someone coming and doing a mass shooting,” said Robert Jones, Head Football Coach and Athletic Director at Del City. “It’s happening too much to say it’s not going to happen to us. I never thought it would happen to me, and it happened twice.”
While school shootings are a primary focus, community-based threats can also be reported using the app. A recent shooting at the Oklahoma State Fair left thousands in a panic and one seriously injured. Sarah Stewart, Public Information Officer for the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, heard about the shooting from her law enforcement colleagues. The information became personal quickly because her teenage children were at the fair that night.
“It made me angry that my children had to deal with a scary and violent situation at an event that should have been fun for them and their friends,” Stewart said. “As a state, we are pushing to do a better job of preventing incidents like this one.”
ProtectOK is a program of the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign from the United States Department of Homeland Security.