Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Neutralizing the Active Shooter: A New Technology Solution

By Stephern Bryen @ American Center for Democracy

One of the great risks we face today is what the FBI called the “active shooter” threat. The FBI has been working on this problem for some time, but meanwhile -despite their good efforts- the active shooter problem remains a threat without a good solution.

In the simplest terms, the characteristics of an active shooter is a person or persons who launch an attack either outdoors or inside a building or facility. Typically the attack comes as a surprise. If the facility is guarded, the guard may try to interdict the shooter, but lacking warning it is often the case that the guard is wounded or killed. From that initial moment on, the shooter goes on a rampage, causing a good deal of panic and, sadly, many casualties.

Buildings with alert systems can at least provide some warning to those not in the direct path of the assailant, and if there was some training (unfortunately in most cases people are not trained to deal with such threats) people may be able to escape unharmed. But most of the time citizens are in harm’s way and suffer accordingly.

The best strategy to deal with an active shooter is to identify the threat as soon as possible and to get law enforcement on the scene quickly. The faster an active shooter can be liquidated the less damage he or she can do. Unfortunately, the record is none too good on response speed. It is unusual, for example, for security to pick up a threat before it materializes before them. And it is difficult for law enforcement, especially inside unfamiliar buildings, to pinpoint where the shooter is and to figure out how to stop him.

There are more than a handful of shooting cases where even locating the shooter is difficult, especially if he or she is on the move.

Government buildings and installations, public buildings, and private businesses have invested in security systems. These systems consist of building alarms, public address systems and cameras covering interior space. Typically the imagery can be viewed by a guard at a station and in some cases by a security office or building command center. Unfortunately, law enforcement rarely has access to what the cameras see, and even worse law enforcement is unfamiliar with the layout of any office or installation, how one navigates, and where the exits and entrances are located. Thus, despite cameras and other sensors (for example gunshot sensors), law enforcement faces nearly a black hole initially. This makes law enforcement rescue attempts inefficient and dangerous, both to the possible victims and to the law enforcement officers as well.

Is it possible to change the game and give law enforcement, first responders, and security personnel a more rapid and accurate way to respond to a major security event?

An Israeli developer, Eran Jedvice, and his development team have come up with a solution that is a game changer. The good thing about what they have developed is that it can be “bolted on” to existing security systems and make them far more efficient and effective.

The basic idea of Jedvice, is to create immediate situational awareness that law enforcement can use even while on the way to the crime scene. Previously, Jedvice completed important projects in Israel protecting vulnerable villages, where the visualization ideas were developed initially

The technology permits law enforcement to “see” the entire layout of any space and to orient themselves immediately and automatically, seeing in their perspective where the threat is and how it is moving. This provides instant guidance on how to confront the attacker and how to put out instructions on how to escape the threat.

The Jedvice system exploits imaging but changes it from a flat scene projected by a camera whose location is not known to law enforcement, to a scene that is immediately relevant and compelling and in a perspective that is actionable.

TEDCO, the Maryland technology development corporation, sponsored Jedvice’s technology and funded a demonstration project, which is installed in the Oheb Shalom synagogue and school in Baltimore, Maryland.

At the synagogue and the school, various sensors have been integrated by the Jedvice software and the result displayed on a commercial computer tablet device working either with WIFI or through a VPN. If an incident occurs, police responders immediately can identify where the problem is, figure how to enter the facility and where it can interdict the threat quickly.

The main idea behind the technology is to dramatically cut down the time it takes to take down the threat.

The immediate benefit is saving lives.

In short, Jedvice and his team have harnessed technology in the service of the community.

This security breakthrough is important to universally upgrade security systems nationwide. For law enforcement, entering a building or facility under attack, hand them an active tablet that will self-orient to their location (or share contact information with them ahead of time so they can use their own tablet or smartphone) giving them the information they urgently need. No guessing, no running down hallways or kicking in doors without being sure where the threat is. With their own communications, the team can not only go after the threat but know which entrances and exits they need to cover and how to move people safely out of harm’s way.

This is a new technology the FBI and law enforcement need to see as soon as possible. They will be amazed.

See a brief video at https://youtu.be/nQ7iMsdPR4g

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