Rural northern Michigan district installs gunshot detectors, software

MAPLE CITY — The Glen Lake Community Schools in northwest Lower Michigan’s Leelanau County are installing gunshot detection sensors and response software to detect and locate gunshots inside school building and quickly give first responders critical details.

The system was chosen through a competitive bidding process. Siemens Building Technologies is coordinating the project.

When gunshots are detected by the Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System, BluePoint’s Rapid Emergency Response System immediately notifies first responders and building occupants of the location of the danger.

The school had earlier installed surveillance cameras, powered and programmable locks, card readers to control entry and monitor traffic, and signs that help orient emergency personnel throughout the school. The district also practices regular lockdown drills with staff and students under the guidance of Leelanau County Office of Emergency Management.

“Putting this plan together was an extensive cooperative effort that includes Director of Facilities & Operations Doug Dowdy, Director of Administration and Instructional Technology Marcus Mead, my office, and the Glen Lake Board of Education,” said Sander Scott, Glen Lake superintendent. “We are extremely thankful to the board of education for their foresight and wisdom to commit district funds for this project. Together, we listened to our constituents and community groups who collectively agreed that our community has an obligation to do everything we can to keep our students safe.”

Specified in the RFP was the school’s desire for shot detection sensors that that could filter out false alerts by being able to discern the difference between a gunshot and a locker slamming, for example.

Said Christian Connors, CEO of Shooter Detection Systems: “Our sensors have been operating in the field at customer sites in schools, airports, manufacturing sites and other complex environments for over 26 million hours without a single false alert.”

The BluePoint system also includes police pull stations, which are similar to fire alarm pull stations, and a command and control incident management portal that enables real-time, silent, two-way communication between the command group and staff, allowing first responders to make fast and informed decisions.

As the school implements the system, their next goal will be to run emergency drills incorporating these technologies in an effort to develop best practices for the school and local law enforcement to follow in an actual emergency. Siemens estimates the project will be complete by late September, at which time the school plans to host a school safety demonstration, where they will showcase how the system works to community members, neighboring schools and the media.

The Glen Lake Community Schools was created in 1956, consolidating small rural schools in the communities of Cedar, Empire, Glen Arbor, and Maple City.

For more information about Rowley, Mass.-based Shooter Detection Systems, visit www.shooterdetectionsystems.com. More about Elgin, Ill.-based Blue Point Alert at www.bluepointalert.com.

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