Nothing is more important these days than improving school safety and, on Wednesday morning, May 29, Phoenix Academy – a High Point charter school with three campuses – showed off a new system meant to greatly enhance safety.

The school is serving as the beta site for the new video integrated active shooter detection system designed to instantly and automatically alert authorities to school threats and to then provide security camera access to first responders to help them better assess and address the threat.

With the new system, the instant a shot is fired or a fire alarm at a school is pulled, the system kicks into action and alerts local first responders to the emergency.  The system also simultaneously activates school security cameras and the workers at the 911 call center can use those cameras to see what’s happening at the school and locate the exact position of a shooter or other threat.

Former Guilford County Sheriff’s Department Colonel Randy Powers, who worked a great deal on improving school safety during his many years with the department, said he expects the system to be a big help when there’s a threat at a school using it.

“The video will be visible at 911 with data sent to the computers in police cars,” Powers said, “Responding officers will no longer be going in blind.”

In a press release from Phoenix Academy, Kim Norcross, the superintendent of the school, stated that the automated nature of the integrated system is a big benefit.

“This system takes a weight off of our team,” she stated. “Staff, teachers, and administrators have a new level of comfort knowing it will help provide authorities with accurate information during an emergency without the need for one of them to make a call to 911.  That means we can focus on getting our students to safety.”

Some local and state officials say they are studying this and similar systems to assess the feasibility of using them in area public schools.  In 2018, some local law enforcement agencies were stressing the need for more law enforcement access to cameras in schools but some school officials had some privacy concerns that they said need to be addressed if such a system is implemented.