SHERIDAN, Colo. — A Denver-area school district is believed to be the first in the state to fully install an indoor shooter detection system on all five of its school campuses, according to the company that developed the technology.
The FOX31 Problem Solvers learned Sheridan School District No. 2 is installing the Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System in each of its schools with the help of a School Security Disbursement grant from the state.
“It was just a no-brainer once we learned about it that we needed to pursue it and see if it was something we can get,” said Cyndi Wright, the chief operating officer at Sheridan School District No. 2.
Wright said each school is installing groups of sensors in school hallways and various areas around campus. The sensors detect the acoustic signature of a gunshot and send messages to emergency responders — and any other people or entities designated by the district — when gunfire is sensed.
According to Kendra Noonan, a spokesperson for Shooter Detection Systems, “Sheridan is the first school in the Denver region (and in the state that we are aware of) to have this technology.” Noonan said the indoor gunfire detection system was developed from military sniper detection technology.
In their grant application, Sheridan School District No. 2 officials listed a 2015 shooting on a school-owned property near the high school as one reason they wanted the security system.
“It inspired us to make sure that we were doing and looking for and vetting and reaching out to as many partners as we could, building strong relationships, so we can improve safety and security for our kids and our staff,” said Wright.
The district was awarded $1,102,361.72 through the grant program, enacted by SB18-269.
Schools are required to use the grant funding for security improvements and enhancements at public schools. Ninety-five schools received a total of approximately $29 million.
The Problem Solvers found seven school districts throughout the state that each received more than $1 million for security enhancements.
The Cherry Creek School District received $1,341,372. According to Abbe Smith, a district spokesperson, the schools plan to use the grant funding to purchase trauma “go-bags” for classrooms. They also plan to make upgrades to their intercom systems.
Denver Public Schools received $1,450,426. According to Will Jones, a spokesperson for the district, the schools plan to install new door-locking hardware.
The new hardware, “impacts classrooms, offices and common areas. People inside those spaces can now lock from the inside by pressing a button or turning a knob. This is a valuable safeguard any time there is a threat to the school,” said Jones.
Jones said there are other efforts to install outdoor notification speakers and blue strobe lights to enhance the communication that would alert students, staff and people in the surrounding area of any imminent threats.
The Boulder Valley School District received $1,185,489.17. According to Randy Barber, a school spokesperson, the district has plans for enhanced cameras and radios.
Lori Jane Gliha wrote this report.