Safety
4:03 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Kansas City Jewish Organizations Participate In Active Shooter Training

Mourners left flowers at the Jewish Community Center in Johnson County, Kan., after shootings took the lives of three people on April 13.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Jewish organizations in the Kansas City area spent Friday learning what to do if ever again faced with a threat like the shootings last month that left three people dead.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City organized the workshop, during which about 150 people received safety training from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and local law enforcement.

Other area nonprofits also participated in the workshop, says Jewish Federation president Todd Stettner. He says the workshop emphasized what organizations can do to prevent violence through constant vigilance.

“I felt one of the most important pieces was, ‘How do you communicate with each other?’ says Stettner.

One way is with a new smartphone app, "SafeWatch Team," that can alert coworkers instantly if anyone calls 911 at the office.

The developer, Jill Campbell, was in Overland Park, Kan., to help install the program on participants' cellphones.

Here's how it works: You open the app and tap twice to connect to emergency services. That puts you on the phone with 911 so you can tell the operator what's wrong.

"But within the same time, within the phone structure of this app, there are text and emails sent out to all of the people they felt it was appropriate to have that message," says Campbell.

The idea is that if a shooter enters the building, everyone on the team would know to initiate lockdown procedures as soon as 911 is called. They wouldn't have to wait for an alert to be pushed out manually later.

Prosecutors have charged Frazier Glenn Miller, a neo-Nazi also known as Frazier Glenn Cross, in the April 13 shooting deaths of William Corporon, 69; his grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, 14; and Terri Lammanno, 53.

He's also accused of trying to kill three other people and endangering a third at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom.

Campbell says she's been impressed with the Jewish Federation's response to the shootings.

"They are all working so hard to be a model," she says. "They have not taken this and gone under a rock."