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Boardman Schools install new radios with direct connection to 911

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BOARDMAN TOWNSHIP, Ohio - Days before classes begin in Boardman, new school safety measures are put in place.

All Boardman area schools, including parochial schools and Paul C. Bunn School are now equipped with decommissioned police radios, putting each school in direct contact with Boardman's upgraded 911 Center.

It's called the CARE network, or "Community Access Radio for Emergencies."

Boardman Police Chief Jack Nichols tells 21 News, "One of the problems they found nationwide is that when these crisis situations happen, the cell phones that are in schools overwhelm the cell system, and we only have so many incoming lines at the 911 Center.

So that basically you could have a school in trouble and the school staff is unable to communicate with us via telephone."

But the new radio system solves that problem. Even allowing school administrators to push a panic button, alerting 911 dispatchers that a particular school needs help, and first responders are immediately dispatched.

Boardman High School Principal Jared Cardillo is pleased that the school board, superintendent, Boardman Trustees, police, fire and the Youngstown FBI have all worked together to protect the district's most precious asset -- the children.

"It's all adding to the security and safety of the school -- letting us do what we're supposed to be doing, and that's educating our kids," Cardillo said.

A "mock active shooter" drill at Boardman High School in April alerted the district, and law enforcement, that communication needed improvement in the event of a real crisis in the classroom.

Todd Werth, a Supervisory Special Agent with the FBI's Youngstown Office says, tragedies of the past have taught them, the sooner law enforcement responds, the quicker the blood shed stops.

"Those seconds count to make people as safe as possible, so that's a key aspect of this."

Boardman Township Fire Chief George Brown says, "We're having ongoing meetings with the schools, we're networking across the state and across the country. We're bringing back ideas to see what works for Boardman, and our continual meetings allow us to implement things like this. It's going to work as a win-win for all of us."

A low cost, high value idea, increasing school safety and security, while potentially saving lives.

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