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Cutting-edge security: Schools turn to technology to keep students safe

HARRISON TWP. — School shootings, like the attack at Dennis Middle School in Richmond, Indiana, last December, are prompting local districts to take a closer look at their security systems. An I-Team investigation has found many districts are turning to better technology for their first line of defense.

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In the case of the Northridge School district in Harrison Twp., new, cutting-edge technology is being installed in the new K-12 building being constructed at the corner of North Dixie Drive and Timber Lane.

Tina Fiore, Northridge school board president, said the district planned for many years to construct the most up-to-date education facility with the best security possible.

"Security and safety is very important," she said. "We always stress that."

When the new building was being designed, the district searched for a security system that was above and beyond the traditional video cameras and alarms.

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What they selected is called BluePoint, an alert system that works much like a fire alarm, but is linked to police.

The blue, wall-mounted BluePoint alarms send real-time information to the Montgomery County Sheriff's office when triggered.

The system then focuses the video cameras on the location and hallways where the alarm was pulled. Updates are texted to teachers and other staff to either remove students from the building via safe routes or shelter in place.

Floor plans will be available to deputies on their cell phones, showing the layout of the school and where the emergency was reported.

Capt. Dave Parin said getting timely information as the incident unfolds is critical. "The more accurate information that we have the better our response can be," he said.

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Many active shooter situations last only a few minutes and often end quickly after law enforcement arrives on the scene.

Parin said he plans have his deputies train with the Northridge staff before the building opens to students to test the new system's capabilities.