Massachusetts Trials Indoor Gunshot Detection for Schools

“School and police officials have unveiled a new system to detect and track a gunman that they say is the first in operation in a public school,” gazettenet.com reports. “The Tuesday demonstration [in Methuen, Massachusetts] simulated a gunman entering a grammar school and opening fire. The system’s sensors automatically triggered alerts that reached all police officers and certain school officials within seconds of shots being fired. The system then tracked the gunman as he moved through the building, sending alerts whenever shots were fired.” TTAG tipster One_if_by_land1776 had this to say about that . . .

“The system then tracked the gunman as he moved through the building, sending alerts whenever shots were fired.” So, they can map where s/he shot everyone? More security theater. Again. Still. They will go through every tortured scenario to do ANYTHING to avoid allowing school officials to be armed.

True dat.

Police Chief Joseph Solomon said he believes such systems should be required in all public buildings.

School Superintendent Judith Scannell said she hopes the district can find the money to pay for outfitting its four other schools.

Speaking of spending taxpayer money, a Bay State company called Shooter Detection Systems paid for the demo. They reckon it’s a lifesaver (obvs.). Which is just as well – U.S. taxpayers paid for it.

Guardian’s core technology was developed in conjunction with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and by a major defense contractor who has deployed over 10,000 military-grade gunshot detection systems to Iraq, Afghanistan and around the globe. These systems have saved many American and NATO Soldier’s lives. This same capability is now available to the commercial market through SDS.

Yes well, there’s no technological fix for this: when seconds count, the police are minutes away. Less minutes is better than more minutes, but the shot detection system isn’t any faster than a 911 call and can’t provide human intel. SDS may be a good addition to school security, but there’s no substitute for arming teachers, administrators and parents against evil. Period.

comments

  1. avatar fishydude says:

    Gotta love bureaucrats wasting taxpayer money on useless “feel good” crap.
    But in MA, they make it very difficult for a law abiding US citizen to buy a gun. So no effing way can a teacher get one and have it on campus.

    1. avatar SnJohnson says:

      Let’s add ‘Loud noises’ to the list of things that will now cause false alarms and waste time and money.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Like an firecracker with a cigarette fuze…

        10 min. later, *boom*…

    2. avatar Chris says:

      Depends on what town you live in, so I guess you’re correct.

      No waiting periods, unlike our neighbor RI to the south. I was surprised when I was able to buy a gun within 2 hours of receiving my permit. I expected a 7 day wait, yet there I was walking out with my brand new M&P 45.

      Not difficult at all. Unless you’re chief of police is a dick.

  2. avatar Eric L says:

    I can see it being useful if it was used in conjunction with armed faculty members. Let’s face it, they parade the fact that such systems are used by our military overseas, but seem to skip the fact that soldiers are armed and provide a direct counter.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I agree. If every employee is armed, they could quickly converge on the threat, probably to discover that an armed faculty member had fired that shot and eliminated the threat, and have the champaigne open before the police arrive.

    2. avatar Phil says:

      Exactly, just like having regular fire/smoke detectors in addition to fire extinguisher before fire fighters can arrive on the scene… why would it be any different with gunshots, armed guards/teachers and police forces?

    3. avatar Fred says:

      Oh look, another technology to record information that will be withheld from the public in the case of an incident.

  3. avatar Farmer Tyler says:

    As a former high school prankster my first thought was what keeps mischievous students from making it set off a false alarm. (Slamming books, popping a clipboard by it, firecrackers, etc)

    1. avatar DaveL says:

      Apparently, it combines infrared detection with acoustic detection, so a simple loud noise won’t do it. A firecracker might, though.

    2. avatar Illinois Minion says:

      On the flip-side, a silencer/flash suppressor defeats this by denying the IR sensor?

      1. avatar Chris. says:

        Silencer, yes probably; flash suppressor doesn’t really “suppress” the flash, but rather diverts it so it’s not as visible to the shooter.

        In some cases makes it MORE visible to others.

        1. avatar Howdy says:

          Here’s a comparison.

  4. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    This will be incredibly useful. The coroner will know where to find the bodies. Other than that…

  5. avatar John says:

    First thing that came to my mind was: Barn door… Horse… Bolted

  6. avatar RT says:

    More useless “feel good” BS.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      “Just throw money at it. It will go away.” That’s what makes Taxachusetts great…

  7. avatar Don says:

    That is the most useless shamelessly opportunistic piece of profiteering I’ve ever seen sold to a board of brain-dead bureaucrats. Reminds me of a “weather pot”. You hang it outside and you touch it to check the weather. If the pot feels warm, it’s hot out, if it feels cold, it’s cold out, and if it feels wet it’s raining.

    There are already phones in classrooms. Put locks on the classroom doors. Lock the doors to the school during the day and leave no man-sized windows in them. Train people to use the locks. The end.

    1. avatar MamaLiberty says:

      That sounds remarkably like a prison… government “schools” have been nothing but prisons for a long time, in fact. Might as well make them look more like it, you think?

      Better idea: Parents working together as individuals to provide education that does not involve wholesale theft from the entire community, OR prison buildings. Don’t congregate hundreds or thousands of helpless potential victims in one place. Result? Far, far better education and safety, even if those individual parents don’t arm themselves.

      1. avatar Don says:

        You call it a prison and if you keep doing that that’s how kids will think of it. And then you’ve failed as an adult role model. Because it also sounds a lot like a fortress, a safe room, a vault, the white house, a VIP mansion. It sounds like exactly what you would build if you had something important and precious you CARED to protect. You know, like how we protect diamonds, liquor, and cigarettes. I think children deserve at least that much. Don’t let your philosophical disagreement with “government schools” cause you to use this immediately fixable security problem as an excuse to push your alternate agenda. Continue to push your noble agenda but do so based on its own merits with regard to educational quality. In the mean time put some damned locks on the doors that the teachers can use if they hear a disturbance to protect the kids who are there now, today.

        1. avatar MamaLiberty says:

          Sorry, but my children and grandchildren are far too precious to trust to government indoctrination and PC social programming, regardless of how “safe” all the nonsense might make them otherwise.

          The whole point is that MY children are not going to be fish in a barrel… any barrel. There are many far, far better alternatives.

          The locks, serious locks, are on my doors. And I’m the one protecting us.

  8. avatar Nick D says:

    Will this detection and tracking system be attached to any other form of deterrent? Maybe flood the room with CS gas? Set the local area into lockdown, bolting doors and windows shut? And I don’t mean a cheap little latch on a glass pane, I mean full on Get Smart intro levels of lockdown. And then flood the room with tear gas.

    Oh, it’s… it’s just an alarm? That’s disappointing.

    1. avatar Chris says:

      It also texts everyone in the community to “shelter-in-place” while the gestapo storm in and save the day.

  9. avatar pg2 says:

    Another step in making schools more prison like. Kids today are being conditioned to accept prison like environments and surveillance at all times.

    1. avatar Nick D says:

      They also get to wear school uniforms that look exactly like Wal-Mart uniforms! They even get name badges, and the crushed human spirit that comes with it!

  10. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Anyone who deploys this system is tacitly admitting that time is of the essence when an attacker strikes: as we always say, “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.” Thus this system is trying to reduce the number of minutes for police to respond. The only trouble is that it will still take several minutes for police to respond.

    On the other hand an armed parent or staff member at a school can respond within seconds if an attacker strikes. I wonder why Massachusetts is jumping through so many hoops when an easy, obvious, superior, and CHEAP solution is already available.

  11. avatar Ralph says:

    Why does the system need to track the gunman? Can’t the cleanup crew just follow the blood trail?

    1. avatar Rad Man says:

      Wouldn’t you just love to know which reps at the state house had venture capital in this company?

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        The lobster and caviar at the proposal conference wasn’t a bad idea either.

  12. avatar DaveL says:

    If you’re close enough to hear the gunshots, are you going to follow the sound of the shots our are you going to check your smartphone?

    And if you aren’t close enough to hear the gunshots, how far will the shooter have moved in the time it takes you to get there?

  13. avatar preston says:

    i love how they used the soldier example, all the while omitting the fact that SOLDIERS ARE ARMED

    1. avatar Logan says:

      At least they are armed at some deployed locations. They are not armed at many deployed locations and they are most definitely disarmed on US soil.

    2. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      Good point.

  14. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    You know what else can track* a school gunman?

    Armed teachers.

    * And more importantly: in all likelihood, deter

    1. avatar 80 D says:

      *And eliminate.

  15. avatar Raul Ybarra says:

    Nice idea, but it doesn’t change the fact that the police are still minutes away and an armed teacher is only seconds away.

  16. avatar DrVino says:

    “detect and track” but not “deter and stop”…..

  17. avatar Kyle in CT says:

    So let me get this straight: a public school system, pretty much all of which struggle funding-wise anyway, for a variety of reasons, is going to spend at the very least many thousands of dollars on this system to MAYBE get the police there 30 seconds sooner (in comparison to a minimum response time of ~5 minutes). This at the same time that kids are having to share textbooks, class sizes are going up, and districts can’t get good teachers because the starting pay is crap. Also, would this be the same district that has recently been labelled low-performing, and had the town cited for underfunding?

    http://www.doe.mass.edu/apa/review/district/reports/nolevel/2013-0181.docx

    Perhaps the the district should save some money by not paying the school administrators, since they obviously can’t seem to get their priorities in order.

    1. avatar Illinois Minion says:

      “Perhaps the the district should save some money by not paying the school administrators, since they obviously can’t seem to get their priorities in order.”

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…..
      good one

  18. avatar Roymond says:

    So how much effort would it take to change the sound of a shot? I’ve seen a sound suppressor made from a pair of shampoo bottles, and the result is something that doesn’t sound much like a firearm at all. So deploy a mutli-thousand-dollar detection system that can be thwarted by materials out of the trash and a bit of effort… yeah, makes great sense.

    If you’re the one selling the systems, anyway.

  19. avatar Roymond says:

    Just a second: the unit hears a sound, identifies it as gunfire, and THEN looks for the muzzle flash? I thought basic physics said the flash will actually be first. So a shooter know knows how such a system works just has to shoot, then quickly move to somewhere else before shooting again, right?

  20. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    And????????
    What will this do before or during the fact??
    Besides waste more taxpayers $$$$.
    Arm the teachers already.
    Do away with “Gun Free Zones” already
    Geeeeeeeeeeeeesh.
    Same feel good crap over and over.

  21. avatar Illinois Minion says:

    I like the graphics they present at the onset:
    12.5minutes: Average duration of an active incident
    18 minutes: Average emergency / law enforcement response time

    So right there they admit the pointlessness of their product.
    You know… for the children’s sake ™. And their bottom line(tm).

  22. avatar Spaceman Brown says:

    It’s cool technology, and its absolutely capable of being an integral part of the response to an active shooter. The only thing missing is the rest of the response plan. Early warning is useless unless there are armed citizens around to actually do something about the problem.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Robots. Armed robots. That’s the Next Big Thing ™ from DARPA.

  23. avatar Pseudo says:

    This is epic failure. Whoever believes that a handful of minutes increase in emergency response (if that) to an incredibly rare event is worth spending a significant amount of money on is deranged. School shootings are horrible events and are consequently high profile. Even if the rate of mass school shootings is on the rise, there is still a ridiculously small risk of a child being killed in a school shooting. A shot at marginally improving the outcome in rare events needs to be virtually free in order to be worthwhile. I have the feeling installing this system in all of our schools would be fairly pricey. Not a good way to spend private OR taxpayer money.

  24. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    Unless it also has gunman-seeking missiles, it’ll only help document things after the fact.

    Gimme a flippin’ break.

  25. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    sending alerts whenever shots were fired.” I think with the shots ringing out, this is unnecessary. So what happens if the perp is using an edged weapon?
    I do not know how this is supposed to track the perp, but even if it did track as advertised, would someone like Adam Lanza even care?
    Are the cops going to huddle and wait for the SWAT team to show up in an hour as it did at Chardon?
    This is another stupid gimmick.
    I keep saying that the Liberals really want a lot of dead kids so they can push gun control.

  26. avatar Logan says:

    So this is a multimillion dollar fancy-pants system to alert a good guy with a gun to drive to the school.

  27. avatar Richard In WA says:

    Good idea. Now the cops can know exactly where the shooter is while they sit in the parking lot for another half hour after the shooting starts.

  28. avatar Damon says:

    “These systems have saved many American and NATO Soldier’s lives. This same capability is now available to the commercial market through SDS.”

    This is a true statement, because it allows armed Soldiers to immediately find and fix the enemy who is firing on them.

    Without armed responders in the immediate area (i.e. inside the school) at the time of the shooting, it will be completely useless for anything but locating the bodies.

  29. avatar barnbwt says:

    Isn’t loud-frackin’ gunfire itself an alarm? What else am I missing, here?

  30. avatar Bob101 says:

    Idiotic idea. This system will not save a single life. The average police response time is slower than the average timespan of a school shooting incident. If you cannot get a good guy with a gun on scene in less than 5 minutes, what is the point.

  31. avatar Bill R from MA says:

    watching this (second) clip i couldn’t help feeling like i was watching an infomercial sales pitch.

    in the end this financial windfall for the manufacturers will be a tax payer funded “feel good” that won’t stop a killer from killing.

  32. avatar Alexander says:

    I have first-hand experience with this technology. It is immature and works only in limited situations. A company can set it up for a perfect demonstration using unrealistic parameters. In actual use, these systems will detect the presence of a gunshot (as if human ears can’t!), but the location is very uncertain. The caliber of the gun and the echoes from the hallways will throw the system off. It costs tens of thousands and adds less than zero value, as idiots will point to it and think (believe, really, since thinnking is a logical process) that they have solved the problem. This was a PR stunt by the company; the next thing is to get their local congressman to allocate (steal) a few million of tax payers’ (your) money and have it installed throughout the state. If the next school killer is into gadgets, this may even attract him, for he’ll know for sure that it won’t stop him.

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