Burrillville schools partner with Boston company in technology to address active threats

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BURRILLVILLE – The Burrillville School District and Burrillville Police Department have signed on to a partnership with a Boston, Mass.-based software firm said to ensure prompt response of law enforcement and first responders in the case of an active threat or other crisis event.

Through In Force Technology, Inc., teachers and faculty will now have ability to immediately notify emergency personnel, and directly communicate any details needed to end a threat, according to a release from the company.

The system provides direct two-way alert and communication with law enforcement, bypassing 911, which In Force referenced as a, “slow and outdated,” answering point.

“Traditionally placed 9-1-1 calls can take an average of five minutes to be routed from centralized public safety answering point to the closest responding agency, lengthening the time for first responders to get on scene,” noted a release, adding that the software enables an alert to reach all internal staff and responding agencies in less than four seconds.

“The second problem of at-risk facilities is the inability to effectively communicate to one another from inside the same building as well as to collectively provide specific details of an active threat to law enforcement, causing additional time delays and leading to confusion when law enforcement arrives,” the release explains.

The IN FORCE911 application provides a two-way communication window where staff and faculty inside the school can share information with one another and with responding police officers in real time. The application sends alerts and messages directly to the dispatch consoles, in-vehicle terminals and mobile devices of police officers in the field simultaneously and regardless of duty status, avoiding the call routing process.

First responders also have immediate access to the digital building schematics, aerial photos and emergency operational plans and internet protocol based camera feeds from the school.

Staff and faculty at the schools, meanwhile, are prompted to take actions in coordination with pre-existing training, protocols, and procedures in the best interest of protecting themselves and children.

“The goal of IN FORCE911 is to reduce response time and increase clearer communications when seconds matter most and time equals lives,” the release states.

The effort is aimed at protecting students and staff in the event of an active threat at a time when some are predicting an increase in school violence.

“Unfortunately, history has shown that factors such as bullying, persecution and revenge combined with family dysfunction, lack of supervision, access to firearms and mental illness ha(ve) been the catalyst for countless acts of school violence,” said In Force Marketing Director Ekaterina Novikova. “This notion is disturbing, overwhelming, and scary, because it proves these events will occur and we must proactively address these issues and be prepared for the worst.”

“The Burrillville School Department has a long history of working collaboratively with the Burrillville Police Department and our first responders to ensure that student and staff safety is our highest priority,” said Supt. Michael Sollitto. “Our partnership with In Force Technology, Inc represents a continuation of this collaboration. We are looking forward to working with In Force in the coming months as we implement the real-time notification and alert system.”

The partnership reportedly began in the beginning of April, when schools ramped up their transition to in-person learning, and officials are looking to enhance mutual aid response to all five schools within the district, should a threatening event occur.

“We have a very solid, active team approach to keeping our schools as safe as possible, said Col. Stephen Lynch of the new system. “We work with EMS, the School department and busing vendor in being proactive and aggressive with school safety initiatives. We are really looking forward to building IN FORCE911 into our school safety protocols, operations, communications and plans.  I feel their product has the ability for greatly increasing police response times and clarity when it is needed most for Burrillville students and school staff.”

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