NAMPA It seems that we are forced to talk about keeping our kids safe while at school a lot more than we used to. Times have changed and the dangers are real.
In Nampa, one school resource officer is getting a lot of attention for what he's done to increase security at his school.
In April 2013, School Resource Officer Brad Ford introduced a system at Skyview High that has since won him numerous awards. But for Ford, this system was not about the awards - it's about student safety.
I'm not in a profession where I want these awards or that I seek these things out, Ford said.
Last year he and a co-worker, in the wake of school shootings in other parts of the country, found a system used in mental hospitals and figured out a way to use it at Skyview to increase security and student safety.
We use it so that if a teacher needs help we can get to them faster, said Ford.
Using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Technology) and the school's Wi-Fi system, each teacher or administrator can push a button and get the help they need.
It allows me to be in different places at one time, said Ford.
Each week he gets about three to four calls for help. On this day, he got two.
The first was a medical call to help a student who passed out. The second was a security issue where two students were about to fight.
The system sends Ford and other school leaders alerts as to where to go and an idea of what to expect.
I think the biggest change we've made is our response time now. We have more directed instruction as to where we're going, said vice principal Will Barber.
Skyview was the first school in the country to implement the system. 10 other districts across the country have since started using it.
Now, Ford is getting a lot of recognition for what he's done.
This year he won Airman of the Quarter, Airman of the year (He s a member of the Idaho Air National Guard), Nampa Police Officer of the Year, Nampa Public Servant of the Year and his most recent award comes from the RFID Journal for the most innovative use of RFID technology.
That's cool that people are seeing what we're doing is beneficial, but it's about protecting the kids and that's the whole reason why we're doing this, said Ford.
Skyview is still the only school in the state to have the system.
Other districts, including Caldwell and Weiser, have showed interest in the system, but money has held them back.
The system cost $35,000 and right now a lot of schools just don't have that kind of money. Skyview had an anonymous donor pay for the system.
Skyview and the Nampa Police Department are willing to help other schools figure out if this system can work for them.
This past legislative session Ford spoke to lawmakers about his system. Lawmakers then approved $2.3 million for school safety for the rest of this school year and $4.5 million for next year.
But for schools like Weiser, which will get about $12,000, it's simply not enough to implement a system like Skyview's. Districts will decide how best to use their money.