By Laura Adelmann
3D Response Systmes meant to deter, distract, delay active shooter
The Lakeville Area School Board will soon be considering a proposal for purchasing a cutting-edge school security protection unprecedented in the United States.
Offered by a new Lakeville company, 3D Response Systems, the system builds multi-layer security features designed to save lives by deterring, distracting and delaying an active shooter.
District 194 Business Services Executive Director Michael Baumann said the system has “great promise” with the potential to “revolutionize” security measures in school buildings and other facilities.
“Just speaking on the technical aspects of the system, it’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever seen on the market or potentially to come out on the market,” said Baumann, a retired U.S. Army colonel and U.S. Army Ranger with experience and knowledge of tactical close-quarters combat.
He said he has requested to present a demonstration of the system he described as unprecedented to the School Board at a study session this summer. Baumann said he will seek board direction regarding its possible use in Lakeville schools.
“I see the most value being deployment in our two high schools as at least our initial effort,” Baumann said, emphasizing that cost is an important consideration and there may be an option for a phase-in.
3D Response Systems include multi-layer component options, each designed to keep an intruder out or slow them from entering.
Districts can customize systems to meet their individualized needs and budget, said company co-founder and President Jason Polinski, a local police lieutenant and former school resource officer with expertise in school safety.
He said once active shooters enter schools, they control situations through fear.
“Our research has shown that the layers of defense, when combined with DDD (deter, distract, delay) training, can minimize the loss of life during a horrific event such as an active shooter,” Polinski said in a news release. “Working together, as history has proven, we can make a difference. We can minimize the loss of lives and finally provide a safer environment for students.”
System components include a glass film that makes window and door glass shatterproof, which can delay or deny an intruder’s entrance.
Another component is a teacher-controlled classroom button that creates safe rooms by activating magnetic locking doors without teachers having to step out into hallways to lock doors.
“No human being is going to pull that door open,” Polinski said. “Inside, it’s just a one motion push-button where kids can get out if they need to.”
An additional security option is a pull-down alert that sets off a screamer alarm and activates blue strobe lights inside and outside the school with a piercing lock-down alert warning.
“A voice interruption in the siren says, ‘The school is in lock-down; the police have been notified,’ ” Polinski said. “Then it goes back to the siren and repeats that: siren, message, siren, message.”
The system automatically calls 911 dispatch and sends first responders a text alert with the location of the alarm, including the room number in the school.
“If Mrs. Smith just saw somebody with a gun walk in, she can make her classroom into a safe room,” Polinski said. “She can also notify the entire school, she can notify first responders and she can notify dispatch, all within literally five seconds.”
He said at some schools, teachers must go through the main office to call 911, which slows emergency response time.
If an intruder enters a building vestibule, the system allows an administrator watching on video to push a button to release a non-toxic colored dye that would coat the person in the color yellow to help police identify the suspect.
“It’s kind of hard to explain why you’re yellow,” Polinski said. “That’s what police call a clue.”
He added being sprayed is unnerving to a suspect.
“There’s a little psychological effect that goes on,” Polinski said. “What the hell was that? And now you’re yellow.”
3D Response Systems can also be used by administrators to issue a soft lock-down in response to an event that tells teachers to keep students out of halls.
A soft lock-down clears hallways, which can be used if a student is missing or there is a medical emergency; it also can keep children from witnessing potentially gory scenes.
3D Response Systems include severe weather warnings with public address announcement capabilities and an all-clear alert.
Polinski said all alert system features are included, and more custom notifications can be added.
An optional component is technology that recognizes gunshot sounds and notifies first responders.
3D Response Systems offers two types of staff training.
One training reflects the latest techniques of the U.S. Homeland Security’s run-hide-fight model for active-shooter training, the other is conducted with components installed in the school, Polinski said.
That training teaches staff how to use the equipment and plan options to determine a best course of action based on the situation as opposed to following blanket directives and procedures.
“The training is … really about opening the eyes of school staff,” Polinski said. “What are you going to do if this happens and have a plan in place before it happens.”
He called teachers and school staff the real first responders.
Between 2000-2013 there were 160 active shooter incidents in the U.S. that specifically involved one or more shooters attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area, according to a September 2013 U.S. Department of Justice and FBI study.
The report found shootings occurred in 40 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and 60 percent of the incidents ended in less than five minutes — before police arrived.
A total of 486 individuals were killed in the shootings and another 557 people were wounded, the study found.
Incidents with the highest casualties included Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University where 39 people were killed and Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., where 27 people, many children, were killed.
“This does happen,” Polinksi said. “It’s happening at an alarming rate. It’s not going away. Are (teachers and school staff members) ready?”
Polinski said the company has developed its equipment and training after getting input from many teachers, school staff and security experts.
“This system was literally designed by both teachers’ responses and … the run-hide-fight model that Homeland Security has come out with,” Polinski said. “With this system we’ve actually enhanced the run-hide-fight.”
The company is led by six experts in various fields with security-related backgrounds, all living in or near the Twin Cities area.
Polinski, of Lakeville, has more than 20 years experience in law enforcement, and received the Medal of Merit for researching, creating and training first responders and employees in active shooter response.
Apple Valley’s Peter Matos has served as a police officer with 24 years of experience in numerous positions, including sergeant and Drug Task Force agent.
Tim Miller, of LeCentre, served as a firefighter for 22 years, and has emergency training experience; Thomas Harrison, of Owatonna, is the company’s attorney.
Linda Swanson, retired communications director for Lakeville Area Public Schools, has more than 40 years experience in education and communications. She also has experience in crisis management training for staff and students.
She said 3D Response Systems addresses the fear that started growing among school staff after the April 20, 1999, Columbine High School school shooting in Colorado. Twelve students and one teacher died after the perpetrators used firearms and explosives.
“Every time there was an incident, teachers, administrators, clerical people who are on the front lines became more and more apprehensive about who was walking through the door,” Swanson said.
She said Lakeville schools beefed up security, such as requiring badges and locking doors, but until 3D Response Systems, nothing has been done to stop perpetrators or slow them down.
Baumann agreed, noting that the system is the only that introduces active measures, instead of passive response.
“It puts power back into the hands of those who are being violated,” he said. “When you think about what’s out there currently — which is pretty much nothing — this, it if has traction and the capability proves out, is a complete game-changer.
“As we go forward in security and emergency management and seek improvements, this is huge I think and something the board definitely needs to consider,” Baumann said.