Macomb County has emergency camera system for school attacks
MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. (WJBK) - Seventeen people killed inside a Florida high school -- and a 19-year-old charged with their murders. While we hope it never happens here, law enforcement and school district officials have to be prepared for the worst.
On Tuesday, Macomb County showed FOX 2 how they plan for active shooter emergencies for the 21 school districts there.
More than 50 monitors are part of Macomb County's ComTec System - camera surveillance of traffic, buildings and schools that take part.
Being able to see inside the schools is the idea behind ComTec if an emergency happens at a Macomb County school.
"The first couple officers that show up go inside, we go towards the sound of the shooting," said Chief Dale Dwojakowski, Sterling Heights police. "So to have someone on your police radio telling you yes, there is a shooter in the cafeteria, for our guys to know that it is lifesaving for the kids, lifesaving for the officers."
Here's how it works: If a shooter gets inside a school, the district and the county hit the button and plug into multiple cameras at the school.
On Tuesday, the county showed real-time video footage from the cameras inside Utica High School.
The cameras would work once an active shooter is already on the loose. This, plus online surveillance, could help take down the suspect.
Dr. Christine Johns, the Utica Schools Superintendent, said that the schools maintain an in-house security team.
"We have four retired police officers, most of whom have served in Macomb County and those officers work with our elementary schools, our junior highs and our high schools," she said.
The idea is that the sheriff's department already manning ComTec in Mount Clemens watches the crisis and calls the shots from the control room.
"We are going to try to figure out how to make more of an educated decision, and we can see everything going on in that building," said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.
While Romeo and Utica schools have coordinated their cameras to the ComTec software, the other 19 districts in Macomb hope to be hooked in within a few months.