Published Online: November 11, 2014
METHUEN, Mass. (AP) — A city school will become the first in the nation to deploy an automated system to detect and track a gunman on campus.
City and school officials planned to attend a demonstration of the technology by Shooter Detection Systems, a Massachusetts-based company, on Tuesday afternoon at the undisclosed school.
Mayor Stephen Zanni, Schools Superintendent Judith Scannell, Police Chief Joseph Solomon and Congresswoman Nikki Tsgonas are among those who were expected to be on hand, along with police chiefs and police officers from across the northeast.
The demonstration will simulate an active shooter in a school building and show how police would respond using the new technology.
The "Guardian Active Shooter Detection System" is triggered by the sounds of gunfire, sending an alert to police within seconds.
Then, using smoke alarm-sized sensors installed throughout the school's classrooms and hallways, it can transmit audio recordings in real time, so that emergency responders can track the shooter and monitor other developments before, during and after the person enters the building.
School officials said the investment would dramatically improve current school lockdown procedures.
New England saw one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history when 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 20 elementary school pupils and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.
Methuen school officials first announced plans for the system in July. They have said the system is being paid for by Shooter Detection Systems as a pilot program and not from city funds. The district hopes to install the system in other schools as well.
Shooter Detection Systems was founded in 2013 and is trying to market the systems to the owners and operators of malls, airports, government offices, schools and other public buildings. The system is based, in part, on those developed for the military.
Methuen is a city of about 47,000 residents about 29 miles north of Boston. It is located near the New Hampshire border.
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