By LINDSAY CAREY
Shooter Detection Systems (SDS) held an Active Shooter Demonstration event on Thursday, April 2 at the King 33 Public Safety Training with the help of the Southington Police Department. The demonstration included two scenarios to show potential customers the impact the Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System can have on the outcome of an active shooter event.
The King 33 facility simulated an office layout with several different rooms and positioned an armed Southington Police Department officer inside as an “active shooter”.
After a shot was fired in the building, the visitors and legislators who attended the event could see how the incident would play out in one scenario without the Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System and another using the system.
Several shots were fired and the shooter actually made it through the building and into the same room where the audience was. First responders did not find the shooter because of the confusion between the reports from different people within the office setting played out through 911 calls on loud speakers.
In the second scenario, the Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System reported that a shot was fired and the location of the shot within the King 33 building within seconds.
This time the “shooter” did not come face to face with the audience at the demonstration event. Instead the audience heard police taking the shooter down shortly after the second shot fired, because the system gave them the advantage of an accurate starting point.
Recently retired U.S. Navy Seal Dan Marshal has 23 years of experience military experience in active shooter training. Marshal shared with potential customers at the event the risk of relying on information from individuals on the scene to relay critical information to first responders.
“My last operation deployment overseas in 2011, I was on the fringes of an active shooter event,” said Marshal, who recalled an event overseas when a local took a weapon and killed eight servicemen. “After we reviewed and did the forensics, service members that are trained to handle weapons, that are trained to at least protect themselves in that environment, or that we would think would have the capability and awareness, were found in different states.”
Apparently one of the servicemen was trying to call for help, while others were found hiding underneath a desk.
“The problem is the information. It wasn’t the fact that people weren’t trained to handle these threats,” said Marshal. “It’s that if we rely on the human factor to make those decisions, then ultimately we can’t shape the outcome.”
The former Navy seal emphasized how we all know the protocol for a fire, but most people would not know how to respond if they were in an active shooter event.
“Time is what matters most here,” said Marshal.
The Guardian Indoor Gunshot Detection System is built in Seymour and is already being used in other states. The second generation product was just released in November after about a year and half of feedback from the first generation product.
The product is supposed to report a gunshot in one second and thus far has had nearly zero false alerts. The cost of ownership and maintenance expenses is low and offers factual information for first responders should an active shooter event occur.
SDS is looking for customers like schools, hospitals, airports, malls, banks, and private business owners to purchase the system.
Not only does the system offer information to first responders, customers also have the option to notify everyone in the building that there is a shooter and the location of the shooter via the PA system, computers, telephones, or text message alerts. This allows the people on the inside to make a more educated decision on whether to remain safely in place or exit the building.
“In recent installations, we’ve integrated with the PA system in the facility so when a shot goes off a recorded message is played immediately so everyone in the building can hear that,” said Christian Connors, founder of SDS, the leader in gunshot detection.
The system can also be integrated with security systems, automatic lockdown technology, and surveillance cameras at a location.
Each sensor, which covers about 80 feet, has a microphone to provide audio streaming surveillance after a gunshot is fired. This allows first responders to hear what’s going on inside. It is also a tamper-resistant product, so it could not be hacked.
“Obviously, schools are extremely interested working through the budget cycle and working with the legislators to have money available in New York state and Massachusetts specifically,” said Connors. “We’ll be testifying next week to the Mass. legislation to discuss funding for an active shooter detection system.”
Ultimately, the product provides more time and immediate factual information to first responders as well as people who are inside.
The indoor gunshot detection sensor also provides simulation and training modes, so that facilities can test out the system and practice how to respond. Connors said SDS refers customers to security experts who offer training on how to appropriately respond to an active shooter event.
Former Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis attended the demonstration at King 33 and spoke about his experience responding to a major active shooter event.
“On April 15, 2013, I was in a situation that all of us hope we never have to face, and that was the bombing at the Boston marathon,” said Davis, who stepped down as commissioner after the event and now runs a consulting firm, Edward Davis LLC for police, security and technology.
When researching the latest technology in gunshot detection, Davis said he came across SDS and got involved, because he recognized the potential to save lives using these sensors.
“When you consider what happened in Kenya yesterday, what we face here in New England and what we face really across this nation, the challenge of terrorism and people with psychological disabilities who manage to get their hands on firearms,” said Davis. “Our people have to respond to those instances.”
The former Boston police commissioner said that time and accurate information are invaluable resources during an active shooter threat.
“If officers who are responding to the scene of an incident are able to get timely and accurate intelligence as to where the gunshots were last fired and how shooters are moving the building, then they can decide how to intersect with them quickly and effectively and where they can most likely neutralize the threat,” said Davis. “It gives them the information to maybe make themselves safer and to make the community that they’re protecting safer.”