The Office of Justice Programs' National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Author: The Office of Justice Programs’ National Institute of Justice (NIJ)

Tech Beat Magazine

For all the school resource officers (SROs) and school administrators whose thumbs aren’t as nimble as those of the average teenager, the Justice Technology Information Center (JTIC) has released a new desktop version of its popular free app, School Safe – JTIC’s Security and Safety Assessment App for Schools.

Like the Android and iOS versions, the desktop version makes it easy to perform a safety and security assessment of buildings and grounds by observing conditions and answering a series of simple questions. Desktop School Safe, available as a fillable PDF, also provides enhanced capability to write lengthy blocks of text — using all 10 fingers — and allows for easy file sharing among team members collaborating on an assessment.

For security purposes, each download code issued by JTIC for mobile School Safe can be used on only one device, and although its final output can be exported as a shareable PDF, the actual survey can be conducted on only one device. With the desktop version, the fillable PDF can be passed from one team member to another to work on different sections. The desktop version also includes enhanced capability for adding photos.

“Earlier this year, in response to requests from the field we had received about our Safeguarding Houses of Worship (SHOW) app, we created a fillable PDF desktop version,” says JTIC Deputy Director Ron Pierce. “The desktop version of SHOW became so popular so quickly that we realized there was a similar unmet need for a PDF version of School Safe.”

Pierce notes that the mobile version allows SROs and administrators to walk around and look at facilities while answering the questions, and, “It’s a little hard to do that carrying a laptop. Users might want to print out a blank copy and carry it on a clipboard, making quick notes they can expand on later.”

The ability to easily expand on those brief notes is the most significant advantage that desktop School Safe offers, he says: “This new version is so much easier to use if you have extensive notes or comments regarding what you saw while surveying the facility. The result is a thorough, professional-looking assessment that can be shared electronically or as printed hard copies.”

That final output can also easily be submitted to district or state offices that may require schools to submit a security assessment, a requirement implemented by a number of jurisdictions in the wake of the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Access to versions of School Safe is free, but is limited to qualified criminal justice professionals and school administrators. To request a copy of either mobile version or the new desktop version, send the following information to from your official agency email account:

School Safe – JTIC’s Security and Safety Assessment App for Schools in the subject line. Your name. Your title. The name of your school system. The name of your law enforcement agency (for SROs). Your agency mailing and email address. Which version (iOS, Android or desktop and how many of each).

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