ProtectOK app aims to keep Oklahomans safe
(KTEN) — A new smartphone app designed to keep people and schools in Oklahoma safe offers an anonymous way to report suspicious activity.
As the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety's director of media relations, Sarah Stewart receives reports from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol dispatch every day.
But this time, it was different.
"They were actually calling about a wreck we were working, and the dispatcher said, 'Oh, and by the way, there was a shooting at the State Fair,' and I said: 'Wait a minute... what did you say?' knowing that both of my kids are down there," Stewart recalled. "That was a terrible feeling, calling her and hearing her crying and that she had to experience that."
While her kids were not injured, Stewart's family suffered from the fear and shock of being in an active shooter scenario.
"It makes me angry that that's where we are in society... that we have to worry about that, and that our kids have to experience that," Stewart said.
The DPS worked together with the Oklahoma School Security Institute to launch the ProtectOK app, which provides a quick and easy way to report suspicious activity right from your phone.
"Not only does it save lives, it saves manpower," said Oklahoma Public Safety Commissioner Tim Tipton. "Regardless of the type of potential threat it is, that that information can be sent immediately and can be processed quickly and be put out to the proper agency that needs to look into it."
Bokchito police Chief Shane Guhl said in a statement to KTEN that he endorses the ProtectOK app:
"We are encouraging our community — including students and parents — to utilize this new app ... it's our hope to be able to intervene and stop tragedies before they happen."