School Security System Designed to Slow, Deter Potential Shooters
Nemesis Defense Systems wants to deploy a multipronged system that would spray an active shooter with a yellow dye to distract and mark them.
LAKEVILLE, Minn. – Two former police officers and an aviation security expert have started Nemesis Defense Systems, which the company founders say has developed a security system that will save lives during a school shooting.
The year-old company is putting its products and systems in front of school administrators, who are looking to start installation, according to ABC television affiliate KAAL-TV.
The school district here plans to have Nemesis officials present to board members this summer, Director of Business Services Michael Baumann told KAAL-TV. The system tries to slow down a potential shooter using strengthened glass, enforced doors, lockdown alarms and dyes.
“We want to make it so hard for a person to come and be an active shooter they just don’t target it anymore,” said Tedd Johnson, one of three founders of Nemesis and a former pilot who became an aviation security expert. Police officers Peter Matos and Jason Polinski are also founders.
Nemesis got started after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. On Dec. 14, 2012, a gunman fatally shot 20 children and six adults. Johnson has a young son and was struck by the events.
“It kind of hit me hard,” Johnson told KAAL-TV. “There is a better thing we could do here.”
Johnson and his partners set out to develop a system designed to deter, delay and distract a shooter and slow someone down enough so the police can get there. It starts with protective glass that is covered with a Mylar film; the shooter at Sandy Hook broke the glass and entered the lobby.
“Even if you try to shoot the glass, it takes a few minutes,” Johnson said.
Schools would get push-button alarms around the building, similar to the way fire alarms work. The alarms warn of an armed intruder.
Intruders that make it into a school can be sprayed with a yellow dye that distracts them and makes them stand out. It stays on a person several days to help police identify them. Classroom doors can be locked magnetically, and larger safe rooms can be built.
The Nemesis Defense System has caught the attention of Baumann, who is also a former Iraq War veteran. He has seen the system demonstrated and wants his school board to get a look at it this summer. Lakeville has 11,000 students, 18 buildings and 16 schools. Baumann said Nemesis is well-integrated and offers a different kind of security for schools.
“It gives (schools) the power to defend themselves and limit the impacts of lethal force in that crazy and chaotic environment,” Baumann said. “Police have a better chance to get there faster. The approach is quite different than anything out there right now.”
Baumann, who spent years in the military until retiring in 2005, said the tactical principles of Nemesis are compelling, and he sees the potential for great results.
“It has the ability to neutralize the impact of an active shooter in the best case,” Baumann said.
The big question for Lakeville and any other district that might consider it is cost.
“Can you get a system at a school that makes sense that integrates an overall system and has the capability to aid you in the most heinous situation you might face. and does the public support you?” Baumann asked. “All those things need to be sorted out before we start running wire into a building.”
Johnson said it is difficult to provide cost estimates because it depends on the size of the school and scope of the security system; cost is determined by the number of entrances, number of classrooms and common areas and square footage.
Schools might decide to gradually build up security systems as money becomes available, Johnson said.
“Every school is kind of a custom design,” Johnson said. “We have to go in and assess the situation and see what the school needs.”
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