With Parkland shooting in mind, Pinellas schools adopt system to better communicate with police

A federal grant will help pay for new technology to avoid the communication mishaps that bogged down officers during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High one year ago this week.
Citing communication problems during the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, Pinellas school leaders on Tuesday approved a new system capable of feeding live information to law enforcement during major emergencies. The system will be installed in 122 schools. [Mike Stocker, Sun Sentinel/TNS]
Citing communication problems during the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, Pinellas school leaders on Tuesday approved a new system capable of feeding live information to law enforcement during major emergencies. The system will be installed in 122 schools. [Mike Stocker, Sun Sentinel/TNS]
Published February 12

Pinellas County schools will soon have automated systems capable of delivering live information to law enforcement in the event of a school shooting or major emergency.

The School Board voted Tuesday to implement the technology, satisfying a provision in major legislation that followed the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High one year ago this week in Broward County.

It will be funded through a $488,000 U.S. Department of Justice grant, which was facilitated by the Pinellas County Commission and will be matched by the School Board at 25 percent.

The grant application submitted by Pinellas in July mentions that miscommunication at Stoneman Douglas on Feb. 14, 2018 kept first responders from stopping the shooter who killed 17 people.

"It was reported that the primarily responding law enforcement agency was not receiving the information timely," the application said. "Sheriff's deputies experienced a prolonged period of system delays which caused confusion among first responders. … Deputies did not receive the most crucial piece of intelligence — the exact location of the shooter."

The new system was developed by IntraLogic Solutions and will be installed at 122 schools, according to a contract.

It will "not only expedite notification of local law enforcement during a school emergency, but reduce human error and call system malfunctions," according to materials provided to the School Board.

The application lists security features like video surveillance and various alarm systems.

Another feature, according to associate superintendent Clint Herbic, is a one-button lockdown system that any school staffer can activate from a cell phone. It simultaneously notifies law enforcement, school staff and parents while remotely locking doors on campus.

Contact Megan Reeves at mreeves@tampabay.com. Follow @mareevs.

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