The number of school shootings has almost quadrupled in the 21st century. Social media, particularly TikTok has become a platform for vindictive individuals to post their plans. Consequently, 80% of those who responded in the Security Sales Campus Security Survey, conveyed that these occurrences on social media have greatly contributed to their growing concerns regarding campus safety.
As a result of public backlash, we can expect to see more preemptive measures moving forward. These preventative efforts will replace the reactive solutions we have used in the past. Because being on the defense rarely proves successful in such extreme encounters, preventing them before they happen makes sense. Reactive efforts alone have proven inept at ensuring the safety of our communities. By identifying threats earlier, we may have a better opportunity to curtail mass shooters.
How do campuses plan on doing that? By implementing the following advanced technologies.
In 2022, we can expect to see fewer metal detectors and more Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology implemented on campuses across the country. The forty-year-old technology used for metal detectors is now surpassed by AI. Artificial Intelligence can and does prepare security officers for what is coming – ahead of time.
Public safety technology is taking hold on campuses and beyond. Few first responders have the time to search for a button or replace a dying battery while handling a high-pressure incident. They are often in a high-stress situation with little time to respond. Thus, they tend to react from muscle memory. Having a broader range of awareness regarding the circumstances of any given situation affords the first responder greater leverage and consequently, less stress during the crisis.
By affording first responders more information proactively, we can expect a more strategic and controlled response. Technologies like AI should never negate the human-decision making process. What artificial intelligence can do is alleviate tedious or administrative tasks to preserve the user’s attention for more critical, life-saving decisions.
Moving forward, AI may help alleviate administrative tasks such as writing incident reports. A major advancement for officers accustomed to spending hours watching body-worn camera footage is that they can search the video with keywords. In turn, AI will return a set of results for the officer to review. Those hours saved allow officers to be out in the field, connecting with the communities they serve and keeping them safe.
A recent article explaining the benefits of using drones in police response was more than positive. By sending in drones as soon as a call comes thru, a situation can be assessed, and the information sent to officers prior to their arrival on the scene. This affords the first responder the opportunity to better prepare a strategy before arriving.
Drones can also be used for Systematic Social Observation (SSO). SSO studies offer an unobtrusive way to collect data within a specific area or neighborhood. It is a standardized approach for directly observing the physical, social, and economic characteristics of specific areas. SSO can be particularly beneficial for or near school campuses.
Furthermore, this analysis can be sent to an officer’s cell phone or laptop if they are responding to an emergency call. It can also be communicated to the responder via their dispatcher. Either way, a police officer or team can strategize in route.
Historically, de-escalation training has been more common for nurses, particularly in psychiatry wards, than police officers or campus security officers. It is best described as a type of human behavior that is intended to prevent conflicts. By implementing conflict resolution strategies, anyone can help calm a perpetrator and possibly prevent others from harm. Such tactics may include a soothing, caring tone of voice or allowing the disturbed individual space to feel free to make their own choices versus feeling trapped.
As of late, you may have noticed the advertisements in your feed for de-escalation training. It’s becoming more common. Now, the general public is opting into this training in an effort to be of service should a crisis situation arise.
If this sounds random, it isn’t. In addition to school campuses and healthcare facilities, churches and community spaces are also seeing an uptick in mass gun shooters. Such tragedies are leaving all of us feeling less safe with every day that passes. Police departments are incorporating de-escalation training as well. This is a slow progression and an action that all police departments have yet to embrace. Whether or not it becomes a “best practice” for all police departments remains to be seen. However, it’s becoming a more prevalent consideration. Now we are experiencing a debate about police officers as guardians versus warriors. This shift in mentality combined with de-escalation training should go a long way in preventing mass shootings moving forward.
Emergency Notification Systems Software
Some campuses are implementing what is referred to as Event & Emergency Notification Systems. (EEN) This allows an operator to “blast” notifications to students and staff if there is an active shooter, weather concern, or other crisis that needs to be addressed immediately. When combined with other intrusion or access controls systems, campus security employees can better react to emergency situations and protect those on campus.
Building Perimeter Hardening
As solutions are sought and implemented to protect our school campuses, building perimeter hardening is on the rise. Parents expect their school districts to use their taxpayer dollars to fortify their schools. We’ve advanced in security films and retrofit systems as well.
Consequently, school districts across the country have already started to implement these updates. To date, NGS, the national leader in security window film systems has already serviced/outfitted over 100 schools. Moreover, we currently have 60+ in progress.
If you would like to learn more about our building perimeter hardening process, you can review the details here. We can only hope that our communities will see the benefits of implementation sooner rather than later. There isn’t a moment to lose.