INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Hardened doors, video monitoring, and key fobs that alert 911 are a just few features of a hi-tech security system that some Indiana sheriffs want to install in schools across the state.
“Anything that you can do to be proactive can be a deterrent,” said Executive Director of the Indiana Sheriff's Association Stephen Luce.
In 2014, FOX59 took viewers inside Southwestern High School in Shelbyville which was touted as the safest school in America. The school was chosen as the pilot school to be outfitted with virtual command technology created by a security company called NetTalon.
Every teacher at Southwestern is required to wear a key fob which they would press if there was a life-threatening emergency. That activates the security system and immediately notifies law enforcement. If the shooter reaches a classroom, a hardened door stands in his or her way. This door cannot be breached in mere seconds. And there are cameras throughout the school which allow law enforcement to gain a clear picture of what is happening inside the school and where the shooter is located.
“It kind of shifts the advantage back over to police. At least you have a direction where to go instead of just looking around for the person,” said Luce.
Not surprising, several schools in Indiana and Florida reached out to learn more about the technology following the Florida massacre.
“The most important part is the communication that connects the school in real-time to the sheriff’s dispatch or 911 center. You have a visual feed of the suspect in there and you can track the suspect or the person who is not supposed to be in there,” said Luce.
Luce is now working to bring this technology to other schools in Indiana. But the technology isn't cheap. Luce said it costs around $300,000 to outfit an entire school.
That's why he has been talking with state lawmakers about working on a funding bill.
If schools can't wait and don't want to dish out the cash for all of the security features at once, Luce suggested they add cameras and surveillance equipment first.
In a world where students are dying in their own classrooms, the question is, can you put a price on school safety?
“When you look at the tragedy that had happened over the past several years, there is a lot of money that unfortunately goes into cleaning those situations up and providing something for those families. You cannot put a price on it, but you can most certainly look for the right solutions,” said Luce.