By Daniel Lovering
BOSTON (Reuters) - A Massachusetts school will become the first in the United States to introduce a security system designed to alert authorities to the presence of a shooter in the building, officials said.
The technology, already deployed by the U.S. military in war zones, is being marketed to schools and other public spaces across the country after a spate of deadly mass shootings.
Authorities in Methuen, about 30 miles north of Boston, will demonstrate the Guardian Active Shooter Detection System at the school on Tuesday afternoon. Massachusetts Democratic representative Niki Tsongas and police chiefs from across New England will attend, John Guilfoil said in a statement on behalf of the city.
"There will be a simulated active shooter in the building, with a police response, which will demonstrate the effectiveness of a 'smoke-alarm-sized' detection system, which will tell police, in real time, where the shooter is," he said.
The city asked that the school's name be kept confidential, he said.
U.S. schools have sharply ramped up security in recent decades, installing metal detectors and surveillance systems to counter a surge in mass shootings. New England saw one of the worst such attacks in 2012, when a student killed 20 elementary students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Last month, a gunman killed four students at a school in Washington state before committing suicide in one of the deadliest of more than two dozen school shootings so far this year.
The company Shooter Detection Systems was formed "to assist in reducing the growing threat from indoor shooting incidents" and its system "constantly monitors for gunshot fire and instantly sends confirmation that a shot has occurred" to authorities and building occupants, removing the "human factor" that might cause delays, it said on its website.
The technology was developed with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, an arm of the U.S. Defense Department that funds research, and "a major defense contractor who has deployed over 10,000 military-grade gunshot detection systems to Iraq, Afghanistan and around the globe," it said.
(Editing by Richard Valdmanis and James Dalgleish)