Shotspotter Blog

A New Era of Security for our Students

Lessons from Newark Memorial High School – The 3 Important Steps They Took

A New Standard of Safety for Schools
On June 18, Newark Memorial High School (NMHS), a sprawling 44-acre campus in Northern California, announced that they were the first high school in the country to use gun detection software.  This was an important announcement for school safety and relevant to all schools in our country. The implementation of SST SecureCampus ™ at NMHS was a key technology decision that will help to keep their campus safe while also protecting the lives of the NMHS students and faculty.

The integration of SST SecureCampus was a true collaborative effort that involved many people in the city of Newark. Learn about the three steps they took to ensure the success of this new safety program  — involving the school district, local police department and community.

Three Steps:

1.) Close Collaboration with Local Police on Safety Programs/Procedures
2.) Completion of Public Safety and Emergency Plans
3.) Embracing & Integrating Technology, into the Overall Campus Security Plan

Close Collaboration with Local Police on Safety Programs
This roll-out was not overnight. The deployment of SecureCampus took careful coordination with the Newark Police Department and the Chief, Sergeant and Commander. Since the gun detection alerts go directly to Newark Police Department, they needed to know how the product worked both in their police cars and back at the station. After trainings and meetings, they were up to speed on the product and they were present for all the live gunfire tests to ensure that if a live incident did occur on campus, that they would successfully receive the alerts and have a plan of action for how to distribute officers to help and how to take action once there on campus. In addition the Newark Memorial High School Resource Officer (SRO) was on hand to help with planning and the testing of the product. As a result of this heavy collaboration with the Newark Police Department, a comprehensive public safety and emergency plan was revised and re-written for the school, district and police department to use in the event of an active shooter event. Today, Newark Memorial High School is ready for a gunfire incident, should it happen or not.

Completion of Public Safety and Emergency Plans
Newark Memorial High School has 44-acres and many buildings.  If an incident were to happen, there would be “mass chaos since no one would know where to go” according to Dr. Marken, Newark’s Superintendent. To effectively plan for an emergency, the Unified School district wanted to ensure that if a technology solution was in place, it would help officers and emergency vehicles to arrive quickly (and safely) to the scene to provide aide. Meetings with both the Superintendent’s office, the School Board, Newark Police Department and Newark Memorial High School principal Phil Morales took place to discuss the process and chain-of-command during a potential active shooter threat. During this process of meetings, a new plan was established so that the school district, police department and school were all on the same page on the plan. For example, if an alert came through to the Newark Police Department, what would be the chain of command for responding and how would the district be notified to share the information with other neighboring schools.

Embracing & Integrating Technology into the Overall Campus Security Plan
During the Newark Memorial High School press conference, both Dr. Marken and principal Phil Morales likened the SST SecureCampus™ product to a fire alarm – “there if you need it”, and “you hope you never have to use it.” The integration of SecureCampus into the overall security plan at Newark Memorial High school was critical in terms of getting information faster to the right people – the respondents in the event of an active shooter incident. Now with SecureCampus, an alert will go out from SST. This alert will be fully verified and contextualized alerts with a “dot on the map of the NMHS school” to pinpoint where the shooter is during the incident. The alert (number of rounds fired, the GPS location of gunshots, and audio files of the event) will also go to designated recipients such as public safety dispatch centers, a variety of mobile platforms utilized by first responders, on-site staff, and key Newark Memorial High School organizational personnel.

With this new technology in place, Newark Memorial High School will be prepared and their first responders will know immediately where the incident is on campus, how many rounds were fired and can react faster to save victims and get students to safety even faster.

Join us at the 46th annual National Association of School Safety & Law Enforcement Officials (NASSLEO) this week as we talk about public safety at K-12 schools. We will be in booth #9 and look forward to meeting you. We’ll also be holding an interactive workshop on Tuesday morning at 8AM entitled, “A Case Study in Active Shooter Mitigation: What's Your Plan?” so be sure you come by and participate in this workshop session presented by Damaune Journey, VP of Security Solutions at SST. For more information on our SST SecureCampus™ solutions, go here.

July 24, 2015
By: Sherry Prescott - Willis, Director of Marketing