Mass. companies create technology to help first responders during school shootings

METHUEN, Mass. (WHDH) — A company in Massachusetts have developed technology to help police and first responders during emergencies like the school shooting in Florida that left 17 dead on Wednesday.

The Methuen Police Department worked with local company SDS to use a shotspotter and a special app that helps school staff report any kind of threat to local law enforcement. The once-military technology is now increasingly used in schools and governments buildings around the country.

A real-time map at the Methuen Dispatch Center gives officers an overview of the school. A trail of lights shows up on the map when the shooter weaves their way through the school. The shots are picked up by a shotspotter, a smoke detector for gunshots.

“In order to mitigate risk and reduce loss, you have to find the shooter,” said Methuen Police Chief Joe Solomon. “So it’s always about time to target.”

The app, called InForce, replaces calling 911. School staff are able to report threats to law enforcement, specifying exactly what classroom it happened. It also opens up a chat portal so the staff member can communite with first responders.

“We need smart buildings. Smart buildings save lives,” said Solomon.

InForce is already in use in schools across New Hampshire. Methuen is working with the state legislature to get the technology into all Massachusetts schools.

(Copyright (c) 2018 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)