Virtual Alabama to give authorities more tools to respond

When a crises strikes, communication is crucial. That's why The University of Montevallo is taking steps to upgrade tools to help authorities respond.

During a news conference Thursday afternoon, Governor Robert Bentley along with{}Homeland Security Director Spencer Collier and school officials announced the school's implementation of Virtual Alabama, an imagery system developed in 2009{}that provides detailed mapping and other data to law enforcement officers, fire department personnel, and other first responders in the event of an emergency.

"The applications are limitless whether the situation is a natural disaster or there is an active shooter," said Collier. "It's absolutely amazing."

Montevallo is the fist school in Alabama to implement Virtual Alabama, but State Department of Education Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice has mandated that all k-12 public schools use the system by July 2013.

The system costs the state around $500,000 to operate.