By: Willard Shepard from NBC Miami
A move by one South Florida city could save lives if police have to contend with an active shooter. Cutting edge technology is now letting police and emergency responders actually see the danger before they get there.
After the horrific tragedy in Oregon, emergency teams across the board are taking a second look at how they would respond. NBC 6 got an inside look at how Miami Beach is taking steps to save lives.
Video cameras are what could be the lifeline when police are looking for an active shooter inside a school.
Unfortunately, eight students and an instructor were killed in the latest tragedy last Thursday when police said Chris Harper Mercer went on a shooting rampage at a community college in Oregon.
Miami Beach is deploying new technology in case it ever faces an emergency where lives are on the line. The city has hired the private company Mutualink to fuse cameras from inside buildings like City Hall, the Convention Center, road intersections, even cellphone video from emergency responders, all into a central location at the emergency operation center.
If needed, officers racing to and already on the scene, could actually see what's going on on their smart devices.
"Using technology to get everybody on board and on the same page early enough can mean the difference between life and death. It really can," said Shari Holbert with Miami Beach Emergency Management.
"What happens as in the case of what happened in Oregon, a panic button would be pressed. Once the panic button is pressed, the local police department gets notified on a desktop and video and radio automatically gets integrated into their system," said Jeff Kelly with Mutualink.
Kelly's company aided in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing by providing the video feeds. He showed NBC 6 how the image coming off of his iPad while we were in the fire station parking lot, made it to the command center. The next step is tying the body cameras officers on Miami Beach are getting into the system.
"A lieutenant is looking at his video feed and he's telling his people how to respond and what he's viewing on the video camera. 'Beware around the corner. I can actually see the bad guys,'" Kelly explained.
"It can be used in a myriad of ways and we've been training with this equipment a lot so we are trying to get everybody on board to keep everybody safe," Holbert said.
It's not just video. Each of the separate radio frequencies for emergency teams are also tied together so everyone can talk to each other.
In Miami Beach, even code enforcement officers will have cameras that could show what's going on.
While this technology is moving quickly in Miami Beach, Kelly said they are also seeing if it can be installed at Miami-Dade Public Schools and also with police agencies across the county.
Mutualink, Inc. has developed an interoperable communications platform that enables community-wide multimedia sharing of radio, voice, text, video, data files and telephone communications in a secure environment. Mutualink's system is currently deployed by hundreds of public and private entities worldwide, including homeland security and defense installations, NATO Special Operations Forces, police and fire departments, transit authorities, hospitals, schools, universities, shopping malls, casinos, and more. Mutualink is a privately-held company headquartered in Wallingford, Conn., with R&D facilities in Westford, Mass. and Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and Defense Services office near Washington, DC. For more information please visit www.mutualink.net.
For More Information & Further Inquiry:
Beth Clay, Mutualink, Inc.
Phone: (203) 774-3474