Columbia Public Schools extends radius for crime notifications

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Public School district is extending the radius in which it receives notifications from public safety joint communications. 

Columbia Public Schools (CPS) uses a system called First Watch which is connected with the 911 dispatch center. The system sends text alerts to CPS officials when certain 911 calls come in. 

School officials decided Friday to extend the radius in which they are alerted from 1,000 feet to 2,000 feet.

CPS spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said the change was prompted by an incident on September 11th when shots were fired in Bethel Park. The incident happened 1,003 feet from schools, so the officials did not receive text notifications. 

Columbia Public School Board President Christine King said the radius extension adds another level of security and safety to the building. 

The radius extension will give school officials about 100 more text alerts from First Watch.

School officials, including CPS Security Director John White, make the decision to place a school on lock down based on the alerts or calls they receive from law enforcement. 

A meeting regarding the radius extension and communication efforts between Public Safety Joint Communications, the Columbia Police Department, and CPS will be held Wednesday.