Have schools had the technology to halt active shooter events in their tracks for years? We dug up an old news article from 2014 that certainly seems to paint that picture. The Fox 49 piece discusses an innovative system one Indiana school was testing with specific measures empowering a faster response and more situational control. Here’s what you need to know about the system and why it isn’t being used.
• Southwestern High School was selected for testing by the local Indiana Sheriff’s Office early in 2013. Their goal was to determine whether or not the system was effective and whether it presented more of a challenge than a benefit. It was originally created to better network school administrators with local law enforcement agencies.
• The system’s central focus is on a tiny key fob teachers, administrators, and maintenance workers must carry with them at all times. When an event occurs, the fob lets the wearer instantly notify the police.
• Like a LifeAlert button, the device’s creators also made it possible to network the fob with other devices. At Southwestern High School, pressing the button also initiated a lockdown procedure at the same time – including automatically locking doors that seal shut once teachers usher children inside the classrooms.
• Once safely inside the locked classroom, teachers have access to a second small device that provides much more functionality. Like a smartphone or walkie-talkie on steroids, it lets teachers communicate on a private channel, report injuries, ask for assistance, or even just report that everyone inside the classroom is currently safe.
• Classrooms are also equipped with “safety kits” containing important items like gunshot first aid items, gauze, bandages, and guidance on care of the wounded.
• The fob system also automatically sends out a map of the school to local law enforcement when triggered. Then, it grants law enforcement officials special access to in-school cameras and monitoring devices to help track the perpetrator.
• Doors were also replaced, getting rid of older wooden or metal two-layer doors that require only a few bullets to remove from the hinges. Instead, the school installed defensive multi-layered doors with reinforced hinges and ballistic glass viewing zones.
• A final safety feature includes a school-wide system that somehow engages the shooter. It isn’t clear exactly what this system might entail, and police haven’t volunteered any information about the nature of the counter-attack. What is known is that the counter-measure is non-threatening and can be engaged without the need for human intervention.