Methuen School’s Getting New Security System to Help Stop Active Shooters

It's said to be the first of its kind in the nation.

A Methuen school is getting a new, state-of-the-art security system installed inside of its hallways and classrooms that will help first responders like police, fire, and ambulance personnel react immediately in the event that an active shooter is on campus.

On Tuesday, Shooter Detection Systems, or SDS, the Massachusetts-based technology firm that makes the Guardian Indoor Gunshot Detection system, will unveil the equipment at one of the city’s schools—they won’t say which one just yet—during a live demonstration with elected officials, the media, and the police.

By activating the fully-automated reporting system, which relies on sensors to send an alert to police within one second of a gunshot being fired, the school will become the first in the country to have the equipment.

The system adds an extra layer of security to a school’s lockdown procedures by telling police, in real-time, where the shooter is located. Once the sensors are activated by the sound of gunfire, they begin recording from inside the building, so responders know what’s happening before they enter the vicinity.

“Our number one concern and priority is the safety and security of the students and faculty,” said Methuen School Committee member D.J. Dee. “I think this is being done as not something to alarm anyone, but because we feel that the state-of-the-art system will ensure safety. We’re happy to have it.”

Dee said the system was paid for as part of a pilot program headed by SDS, so taxpayers didn’t have to shoulder the expenses. “We were asked to do the pilot program, and it was a grant that was funded by the company,” he said. “The company paid to have it fully installed.”

School administrators first announced plans for the system’s installation back in July.

It was then that School Superintendent Judith Scannell told the Boston Globe that the emergency back-up would give parents, student, and faculty “peace of mind.”

Dee said the city’s excited to be on the forefront of the latest technological developments aimed at keeping students and teachers safe from the threat of an armed intruder roaming through the school’s building.

“Our plan is to be able to continue to utilize it. I do think it will make a difference,” he said “My understanding is that at some point in the future we would like to see this in our other schools.”