Crisis alert badges coming to DeKalb schools

The DeKalb County Board of Education approved the purchase of a crisis alert system that will allow any employee with a badge to trigger a lockdown. (Courtesy of Centegix)

By Cassidy Alexander

The DeKalb County Board of Education on Monday approved the $3.9 million purchase of a crisis alert system for all of its schools.

The district will contract with Centegix, which provides crisis alert badges to other metro Atlanta school districts. The agreement will last for three years, with the option to extend an additional two years. The implementation will begin in the coming months.

“I’m very glad that this is finally coming to fruition in DeKalb,” said Bradley Gober, the district’s executive director of public safety.

With the Centegix system, employees receive badges with buttons that they can press in the event of an emergency — anything from a medical event or a fight to an intruder on campus. Administrators and first responders will be immediately notified. The badges can trigger lockdowns as well as campuswide alerts that include strobe lights, intercom messages and notifications on desktop computers. The system does not need to be connected to Wi-Fi to work.

Board members unanimously approved the purchase.

“I think this particular item is worthy of applause from this board,” said vice board chair Deirdre Pierce.

After the mass shooting at an elementary school last May in Uvalde, Texas, the DeKalb school system announced it would be adding more school resource officers and K-9 units, considering adding weapons detection systems to schools and exploring adding security vestibules to the front entrance of more schools.

DeKalb is among several metro Atlanta school districts that use Centegix. The Cobb County School District contracted with Centegix in 2022. Shortly after implementing the system, the district reported lockdowns were triggered at multiple schools in error by a staff member with a badge.

School systems in Cherokee, Clayton and Henry counties also employ Centegix, the company’s CEO Brent Cobb told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last year. The company recently announced that its usage doubled in 2022, to more than 4,000 sites in 28 states.

Two Gwinnett schools are also piloting a crisis alert system this year.

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