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Macomb County safety system allows officials to use cameras to track school shooters

Posted at 4:41 PM, Feb 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-20 16:41:00-05

After last week's school shooting in Florida, many local law enforcement officials are reviewing their safety measures if faced with the same situation.

The Macomb County Communications and Technology Center, known as COMTEC, has the capability to access cameras in schools, becoming a hub for police during an active shooter situation.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said, "If and when something is going to happen, the question becomes how do you react to it?"

That's what many law enforcement officials are asking after the Parkland school shooting.

COMTEC has a 20' by 50' wall of screens monitoring DOT cameras. It can also sync up in real-time with public school cameras, helping police respond during crucial moments.

"Giving access to law enforcement from the schools to see things that are happening inside that school in real-time, if and when an active shooter, wow what an incredible advantage."

There are 54 monitors and if there is a school shooting, the cameras could follow the shooter's every move inside the school. If the gunman leaves, then law enforcement officials can use DOT cameras to follow the suspect.

That type of technology can help police on the scene, not only capture the shooter, but also keep people safe.

"It's an incredible advantage to the officers responding to help provide intel and information to get kids out of harms way, faculty out of harms way and, as well, identify the location of the active shooter might be."

There are 21 public school districts in Macomb County, many of them have camera systems that can be accessed here. They've tested their connectivity with Utica and Romeo schools.

Once a district allows access to their cameras, setup can take as little as 30 minutes, after that, accessing the cameras can take seconds.

While this technology is meant to react quickly to a dangerous situation, county officials say it's important for students to help prevent one.

Hacked added, "If you see or sense something, you kind of go that's odd or that's weird bring it to a trusted adult's attention and let them know. Hopefully that shared information will help prevent things like this from happening."

County officials also plan to start linking up cameras with private schools and businesses in the future.