"The officer will have more accurate intelligence: how many shooters; what they're armed with; and where they are," said Bill Parson, a retired Dayton police officer, now a security consultant for school districts and others. "That will allow them to get in the game quicker."
The February 2012Chardon High School shooting motivated the CEO of Lauren International, a former school board president, to work with Akron area school and law enforcement officials to repurpose one of its commercial security systems to something Ohio school districts and local law enforcement could afford and use.
The NaviGate Prepared software, which the local districts are using, launched in late January and was donated to 23 Akron area school districts.
"We now have 85 school districts throughout the state using the system," said Thom Jones, a former high school principal and education consultant for Lauren. The company provides the software, while the local district gathers the information, installs the hardware and contacts local law enforcement, he said. Ohio districts can get the software and training for $3,000 the first year and $1,000 each subsequent year, he said, adding districts in fiscal emergency can get the software and training for free.
West Carrollton staff spent the summer tracking down building blueprints, taking pictures of each classroom and hallways, and installing the high definition cameras throughout all seven buildings.
"This is an investment we made in the safety of our students and staff," Clifford said of the yet undetermined cost for the hardware and its installation.
All of the staff has been trained in a violent intruder response program by Parsons. While unwilling to reveal the details of the training, Parsons said the staff was trained in four core skills to handle a situation and the intense pressure.
"It's an attitude that they can succeed, that the intruder does not hold all the cards. The intruder is not prepared for a group of people who have prepared for him," Parsons said.
The Englewood Police Department soon will be monitoring the cameras in four Northmont elementary schools in the city and the one in Union.
"When you're responding, you have a host of tactical situations going through your mind based on the unknown," Sgt. Mike Lang said."With this kind of information you can pare down the situations. You get right down to the brass tacks and begin planning the response before you arrive."
Chief Mark Brownfield said his dispatchers have had access to the security cameras at the Miami Valley Career Technology Center for five years. "When our dispatchers get a call, they've been able to call up the cameras and find out what is going on."
Other districts are using state money to create links with a radio system that connects all first responders.
The state General Assembly included $12 million in grant money in the two-year state budget for districts to install secure school entries and establish links with the state's Multi-Agency Radio Communications System that connects all first responders.
Beavercreek schools plans to use some of that grant money to link each of its buildings to MARCS so that teachers and administrators can speak directly to first responders in an emergency.
In addition to using state grants for the MARCS links, Beavercreek Superintendent Bill McGlothlin said the district will be purchasing with its own money a number of two-way radios also linked to MARCS. McGlothlin did not yet have a cost estimate on the radios, which would be given to key personnel in each building.
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