ST. LOUIS – When two students shot classmates and teachers at Columbine High School, police agencies waited hours before entering the school, in part because they may have been unfamiliar with the layout of the buildings.
And recent news reports have questioned whether U.S. schools are prepared for another Columbine massacre or terrorist attack.
Innovation. In a new program, Saint Louis University’s Geographic Information Systems Lab has now created compact discs for police and school officials showing schematics and 360-degree photographic images of every classroom, cafeteria, gymnasium and office in two of St. Louis’ largest high schools, as well satellite imagery and aerial photographs of buildings’ exteriors.
Work on mapping two other high schools is in progress.
Virtual walk. With the compact discs, police responding to reports of violence can virtually walk through the building where the violence is occurring, thus helping them respond more quickly and effectively in a crisis.
The program is called the Crisis Intervention Response Application and will eventually map up to 170 schools in the St. Louis area.
The school-mapping project is a joint venture between Saint Louis University’s College of Public Service, the St. Louis Police Department and the city of St. Louis Public Schools.
Students and staff from the college’s department of public policy studies have taken 360-degree photographs of every room in Soldan and Beaumont High Schools in St. Louis.
Touch of a click. The images were then combined with blueprints of the layouts of the schools, aerial photos and satellite images and assembled on compact discs and delivered to St. Louis police.
The program can then be launched from any computer, and police officials will have the ability in seconds to click on any area they wish to view.
The school-mapping project was created after Columbine and other school shootings in an effort to help authorities respond quickly to emergencies inside the schools.
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