A new report investigating the recent school shooting in Texas highlighted the failures of law enforcement’s response to the tragedy including having poor WiFi connection.
Nicole Fuschino tells us about a school district in Cambria County that police officers say has similar bad cell service which could be detrimental in the event of an emergency.
It’s known throughout the community that when you visit Westmont Hilltop High School & surrounding parts of Upper Yoder Township you will barely have any cell service.
That’s something Police Chief John Blake says could be dangerous when those communications are desperately needed.
“There’s a possibility of danger without having any sort of communications set up out by the school and the surrounding area. If we have a medical emergency or a mass casualty event, we would rely on cell phones and radio reception in that area for us to communicate and to react to the threat or the emergency. If we don’t have that, that’s going to cause a lot of problems with the operation.”
In a new report issued by the Texas state committee investigating the school shooting in uvalde system-wide failures were highlighted including having poor WiFi connectivity.
“If we need a simple phrase to describe what the report says, I would tell you multiple systemic failures.”
There has been a legal battle going on for years regarding putting a cell tower near the high school with court hearings scheduled in the near future.
Law enforcement officials say the cell tower wouldn’t just benefit the school district but also nearby churches and nursing homes.
“The communications in that area of the township are definitely diminished and can cause problems for emergency responders.”
Chief Blake says their police department has had multiple issues responding to calls in that area including for car crashes & traffic stops.
“I’ve personally had two problems out in that area in the last 6 months.”
But he says he hopes the poor cell service doesn’t get in the way of something worse.
“I would hope that the value of the possibility of saving someone’s life would rank higher in the decision-making process than the aesthetic value being diminished by a cell phone tower in the area.”
We reached out to Westmont Hilltop Superintendent Tom Mitchell but haven’t heard back.