Beaufort County Sheriff's Office develops app to help identify threats

BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office is rolling out a new app to help streamline communication during school threats.

They call it 'P3TIPS' and it will be a mobile version of CrimeStoppers. We met with the sheriff Wednesday who says this will be the first app version of CrimeStoppers in the state of South Carolina.

After dealing with dozens of school threats following the shooting in Parkland, FL, the Beaufort Sheriff's Office designed the app to give people an anonymous, free platform of communication to relay a school threat. The sheriff's office hopes all 22,000 students download the app as well as faculty and parents. They believe it will help eliminate rumors and allow law enforcement to respond to threats more quickly.

"We want the information and we're trying to figure out the appropriate way for it to get to us 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Not only get to us, but us have the accountability that we have to investigate and we move that information back to the fusion center," said Sheriff PJ Tanner. "We had another school shooting yesterday, so we have got to do more than our share, so to speak, of creating opportunities to provide critical information to law enforcement."

The sheriff says the only pushback at the time is they are concerned they won't be able to handle the influx of users, but they're currently working on a staff to do so.

The app is available right now. However, Sheriff Tanner says the official rollout will be the end of next week, and they will notify the community through Nixle alerts and brochures.

WTOC will keep you updated with the rollout as well.

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