Anne Arundel County police have developed a smartphone app called Speak Out aimed at students, allowing them to anonymously contact authorities at the touch of a button.
"The app is specifically designed to allow students, parents and citizens a mechanism to easily and anonymously reach out to their School Resource Officers at the touch of a button," according to the release.
The app first launched in October, and authorities are reminding students they can report bullying, at-risk behavior or any other non emergency concerns they have at school, home or in their community.
Using the app does not tie into Emergency 911 services, but it does include phone numbers to related services.
“We are trying to put more tools in kids’ hands in an environment they are used to working with,” explains Lieutenant Doyle Batten, School Safety Section commander for the department. “We wanted to give kids as much anonymity as possible to let us know what is going on.”
Messages from the app are transmitted by email to an account accessible only to Batten and two other school resource officers. Messages are reviewed, the sender's address is removed, and the content is sent to the appropriate person for any follow-up action, according to the release.
The app is available for Apple iPhones or Android devices.