Metro Detroit fathers create new way to protect children from school shootings

Some Metro Detroit school districts considering new system

By Karen Drew - Reporter/Anchor, Derick Hutchinson

As parents send their children back to school this week, most of the talk is about teachers, school supplies and schedules, but some Metro Detroit fathers said school security should also be addressed.

The three fathers came up with a whole new way to keep children protected at school, and it has many school districts talking.

Images of a gunman killing dozens of people, including 20 children inside an elementary school in Connecticut, have been burned into some parents' minds.

"If it could happen (at a place) like Sandy Hook, it could happen where you live," Ben Powers said.

Powers is a Metro Detroit father and a commercial pilot with training to protect the cockpit from terrorists.

"I thought, 'Could we apply that program to school safety?'" Powers said.

Powers and automotive engineers Pete Racite and Jeff Thompson came up with Templar Life Safety, a new school security system.

"We decided that maybe it was our time to set up and do something about it," Racite said.

"We brought a fresh pair of eyes into the mix, not being from the 'security space and industry,'" Thompson said.

Once a gunman starts shooting and the call for help goes out, children can be in the line of fire anywhere from six to 12 minutes on average before police arrive. The three fathers said they have a solution that can be installed inside the school for trained school personnel.

How does the system work? It uses bulletproof vests that are equipped to fight off a gunman.

"You would have an access card ... that unlocks the door," Racite said. "I would then access the vault, pull out the vest, and at the same time a hands-free call to 911 goes out."

Their system also uses trauma kits that can be installed throughout the school or business. Anyone allowed access to the Templar Life Safety system must go through background checks and a weeklong training period that meets police standards.

"If they are not prepared for what they may see, they may freeze," former Brighton police Chief Mike Kinaschuk said. "The police can't be everywhere at the same time."

Kinaschuk said the access to guns would be limited in a very controlled system.

There are school districts in the Metro Detroit area considering the system. It could cost anywhere from $100,000 for a couple of units in one school to more than $1 million for an entire district.

You can watch Karen Drew's full story in the video posted above.

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