Alyssa’s Law works to implement SaferWatch app across the state of Florida


Tribune News Service

Broward School Board member Lori Alhadeff speaks about Alyssa’s Law, named for her daughter, at a press conference on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Scott Travis

Ashveen Saini, Social Media Editor

A new app called SaferWatch was created following the passage of “Alyssa’s Law,” a piece of legislation in the state of Florida. Its purpose is to ensure better safety in schools.

SaferWatch, also known as Alyssa’s Alert, is a web and mobile-based security system built to provide higher levels of safety for individuals. The app is also meant to enhance security for organizations including schools, corporations, public venues, neighborhoods and communities.

After the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018, which took the lives of 17 students and staff members, many felt that better protection was needed in schools in the state of Florida. Broward County School Board member Lori Alhadeff took the initiative to get a bill passed, Alyssa’s Law, named after her daughter Alyssa Alhadeff who was one of the 17 victims lost in the tragedy. The passage of this law later led to the assembly of the SaferWatch app.

Alyssa’s Law requires public elementary and secondary schools to be equipped with silent panic alarms that are directly linked to law enforcement. Starting at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, all public and charter elementary, middle and high school campuses must have a mobile panic alert system for use in a life-threatening emergency. This feature is named “Alyssa’s Alert.”

“I feel SaferWatch is a good idea that will help protect individuals in emergencies,” senior Aziza Tazhbayeva said.

One of SaferWatch’s features is a “panic button,” which can be activated by pressing it to alert law enforcement. When the “panic button” is activated, it automatically sends personal information such as location, medical information and emergency contacts to law enforcement and administrators. After they receive it, they are supposed to send help and get in contact with family and friends.

The app also notifies users around the area of the incident itself, warning them to be aware and safe. The tool additionally allows an individual to report incidents or submit a tip at a later time.

“I believe that this app will help if the victim would not like to give away their position to the criminal if they are in danger of being located by sound,” freshman Jack Jent said.

SaferWatch complies with all of the requirements of Alyssa’s Laws by instantly notifying 9-1-1/Emergency Services when the “panic button” is activated, providing law enforcement with exact GPS coordinates and giving Emergency Services instant access to nearby security cameras using Motorola Aware Solutions Technology.

“I personally could use this app to benefit myself in case of an emergency, bringing help to me faster which could save my life,” sophomore Abigail Peart said.

The hope is that the app will help many in any potential life-threatening incidents they face. This will help schools get help as soon as possible in case of an emergency, heavily reducing possible deaths, injuries and overall tragedies throughout the state.