New laser tech to enhance local school safety

(WPMI) New laser tech to enhance local school safety
(WPMI) New laser tech to enhance local school safety

When law officers respond to a school emergency, like a shooting or a hostage situation, their greatest fear is the unknown.

What's the layout of the school?

Where could a student hide?

Where could the bad guys be?

A device being used by one local law enforcement agency could eliminate some of those questions...

"...and just give us an idea of where we could go to have a better advantage," says Lt. Daniel Steelman. He works in the forensics unit of the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office. He’s referring to a gizmo perched on a tripod, called a scan station. It uses a laser to scan buildings both inside and out to create a kind of 3-D picture of the property. Lt. Steelman and coworkers are already using it to document crime scenes.

Now, they're scanning select schools in Baldwin County so officers have a 3D image of what they might encounter inside before they even enter a building.

We caught up with him at the CV Taylor Alternative School in Robertsdale.

"The whole devise will spin 360 degrees," he says, as the device spins and a small mirror flips as the scanner bounces laser beams off surfaces to create it’s images..

As an example, Lt Steeman and staff ran a scan of the sheriff's office's gym... taking a series of photos that allow the viewer to use a computer screen and see the inside from left to right, and top to bottom.. and every tiny spot inbetween.

"Then we stitch together, almost like a quilt,” says Steelman, “the entire footprint of these scans, we'll probably do 120 of these scans... "

The result is a clear picture of every nook and cranny... the kind of places bad people like to hide.

But now, the surprise will be on them, giving officers more info, a nd students a better chance to survive what used to be the unthinkable.