Law Enforcement/Public Safety Battelle develops time-saving active-shooter response system, seeks partner for rollout By Steve Bittenbender Editor, Government Security News Ed Jopeck found the numbers disturbing. Despite the technology becoming available to detect gunshots in buildings, active shooting events – and the tragic deaths that all too often com with them – continued to occur. According to Federal Bureau of Investigation data, an average of more than 16 attacks took place annually between 2000 and 2013, with the number almost tripling in the last seven years. In all, 1,043 people died or were injured as a result of such events. So even with gunshot detection systems in place, mass shootings still took place and fatalities still occurred. It led Jopeck, a program manager at Battelle, and his colleagues at the Ohio-based non-profit research and development institution to find a way to make detection systems better. Two years later, Battelle is ready to roll out SiteGuard Active Shooter Response, a solution that uses sensors and cameras to identify and pinpoint gunshots as well as monitor the whereabouts of the shooter. In a recent test conducted with representatives from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, SiteGuard reduced the time officers needed to neutralize the threat by nearly two-thirds. SiteGuard’s “impact can and has be demonstrated repeatedly to end a shooting significantly faster,” Jopeck said. “We are not talking about 28 Battelle SiteGuard responding seconds faster here, but by six minutes or more. A shooter can find and shoot at a lot of building occupants in six minutes.” What makes SiteGuard stand out among the solutions available is the automated video tracking of shooters. That enables law enforcement agents arriving at the scene to know where the shots are being fired and the assailant’s whereabouts. In the
testing, Jopeck said the system allowed approaching law enforcement officers to know what the shooter as they approached the subject. Also, Battelle’s audio sensors do not need line of sight clearance to identify a shot thanks to a proprietary two-stage algorithm developed to identify gunshots sounds with accuracy. Because of that development, Jopeck said buildings need fewer sensors installed, especially in large open spaces with columns – such as a library or cafeteria – that could prevent the visual flash of a weapon from being detected. But the system doesn’t just help law enforcement officers. It also aids building occupants by disseminating critical information via public address announcements, phone calls, text messages or computer displays to help them escape or find appropriate shelter. “Completely researching, reimagining and then re-inventing the response to active shootings helped Battelle find better approaches to saving lives that many active shooting experts had missed,” Jopeck said. In addition to the FLETC testing, Battelle has also tested the system at Reynoldsburg High School, which is located near Battelle’s headquarters in Columbus, OH. The system has been in place for two years, with Battelle officials implementing new technology into the school’s system as it’s developed. “We are always seeking better ways to protect our students and teachers in Reynoldsburg City Schools,” said Tina Thomas-Manning, Reynoldsburg’s superintendent. “Battelle’s science capability and world-class reputation for supporting education initiatives gave us confidence to give the system a trial run and evaluate its capabilities.” Since the successful tests at the FLETC’s Georgia training facility, Jopeck said Battelle has received interest from government agencies and businesses about getting the system installed in their facilities. However, in order to meet that demand, Jopeck said the organization is looking to meet with technology companies to help them make the technology available to a wider market, such as schools. The first systems should be installed by the end of the calendar year, he added. 29 U.S. Attorney pays tribute to Ohio cops Continued from page 23 en approaches to enforcement. In many respects, the police here in the southern half of Ohio are leading the way in developing innovative approaches to today’s crime problems. The police here are not immune to mistakes—who is?—but they are trying, and they care deeply about the communities they serve. That warrants support and commendation. May 15-21 served as National Police Week. It is a tradition that has grown out of President John F. Kennedy’s proclamation in 1962 that designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day. Tragically, within the past year, Cincinnati Police Officer Sonny Kim, Danville Police Officer Thomas Cottrell, Columbus Police Officer Steve Smith, and Hilliard Police Officer Sean Johnson have lost their lives in the performance of their duties. They were not only public servants. They were family members, neighbors, and friends. As we remember them, let’s reflect on all police officers this way. The officers who serve here in the Southern District of Ohio are not some video clip from a far-away state. They are family members, neighbors, and friends who perform a dangerous, difficult, and essential job with honor. I thank them for their service.