Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato and Ocean County School District Leaders today proudly announced the county wide effort to implement first of its kind school critical incident planning/active shooter response plan called Collaborative Response Graphic (CRG®).
The announcement came during a multi-agency, multi-disciplinary threat exercise held at Central Regional High School in Bayville, New Jersey, where Ocean County law enforcement demonstrated the high tech threat response model developed by our military’s most elite Special Operation forces.
The most important lesson learned in the wake of an active shooter or mass casualty incidents nationally is that emergency responders are seriously hampered by poor communication and a lack of coordination between agencies. This issue results in the worse possible scenario, contributing to chaotic evacuation and increased delays in reaching victims by responders unfamiliar with a venues layout. This technology, explained in its simplest form, will give law enforcement responding to a threat complete blue prints of the mapped school providing arriving officers with specific direction as to where to go. They in turn will then be able to track and be tracked in their every movement.
Prosecutor Coronato stated, “This technology is the result of the United States Military Special Operations Command spending more than a decade and billions of dollars in fighting the global war on terror. Faced with the challenge of coordinating numerous teams from multiple branches at unfamiliar locations they perfected the art of Planning with Pictures. It is the concept of the NFL playbook taken to an astonishing level and I plan to maximize its utilization.”
In order for a plan to be real it must be both accessible and understandable. Accessible means having the ability to easily get the plan into the hands of first responders and commanders. Understandable means that the end user can digest it in less than a minute and put it into action. This technology resolves the following challenges in the time-compressed space surrounding an actual incident:
➢ Once on scene how do first responders get into and navigate an unfamiliar building?
➢ Can responders locate their incident plan binder or digital equivalent in a timely manner?
➢ If you find it, can you search through the hundreds of pages to find the specific information you need?
➢ If you can find the information you need, can you disseminate it to the ever-growing number of emergency responders from multiple jurisdictions who are descending upon the scene?
➢ If you can beat the odds and locate your plan, the page within the plan, and disseminate it to the intended recipients—can they read, understand, and communicate off the plan in time to mitigate and minimize the casualties?
Prosecutor Coronato continued, “Utilizing forfeiture funds, OCPO has purchased the foundation for a system that can easily be built upon to include the entire school district. With this technology law enforcement responding to a school threat will for the first time literally be on the same page, have a complete picture of on scene personnel and the school right down to the smallest closet. It’s now a response plan based on pictures, which will increase the chances of quickly mitigating a threat while adding critical layers of safety for responding officers.”
Today’s event held at Central Regional High School in Bayville, NJ, gave a full visual demonstration of the revolutionary technology and response plan for Ocean County by the following participating Agencies:
Berkeley Township PD
Toms River Township PD
Ocean Gate PD
Manchester Township PD
Pine Beach PD
South Toms River Borough PD
Lacey Township PD
Ocean County Sheriff’s Department
Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office
New Jersey State Police
Ocean County Regional SWAT
The following schools are among those participating to date: Central Regional District, Jackson School District, Manchester School District, Stafford School District, Toms River High Schools, and Berkeley School District. The following districts are in the initial phase of participation: Brick School District and Point Pleasant Beach School District. Outside of the schools participation, the program is awaiting creation of floor plans for inclusion of Ocean County owned buildings
Prosecutor Coronato concluded the drill by stating, “I can’t thank BAE Systems, the Critical Response Group Inc., and Chief Karin DiMichele of the Berkeley Township Police Department enough for helping me bring this amazing initiative to Ocean County. I also want to thank those school officials who attended today for their interest and cooperation in helping with the programs implementation. It is my plan moving forward, with the help of school officials, to expand this initiative to all schools. Most noteworthy is that starting today, Ocean County law enforcement/emergency responders will begin to build a library of emergency plans and floor blueprints that can be kept right in their pocket on their smart phone in real time. Beyond the school application, we are already building a platform for police operations and high profile local events such as the Polar Bear Plunge. Looking to the future, it is my wish to include critical infrastructure across Ocean County to include hospitals, utility companies, courts, entertainment venues, places of worship, or anywhere large numbers of people would gather.”
When SEAL Team 6 was tasked with killing or capturing Usama Bin Laden during Operation Neptune Spear, they had every conceivable resource of the United States government at their disposal. With nearly limitless resources and options, they chose a singular piece of paper – the visual plan. That plan, known in the military as a Gridded Reference Graphic (GRG), can be seen sitting unassumingly in front of Secretary Clinton in the famous White House Situation Room photo captured during the operation. The power of that photo is just now being realized. Back in May of 2011, while US public safety professionals still plodded along with text-based plans, everyone connected with Neptune Spear—from the President of the United States to the SEAL operator in Abbottabad, Pakistan half a world away—was looking at the same piece of paper: a GRG of the plan.
Today the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office successfully collaborated with BAE Systems and the Critical Response Group to present the domestic evolution of the Collaborative Response Graphic (CRG®). CRGs combine aerial imagery, floor plans, critical features, and key plan components into a simple to decipher geospatially accurate graphic. When viewed on a GPS-enabled smart device, the user is plotted on top of the plan in real time. The grid allows for a common language and instant visualization of plan components. A contact team trying to communicate the location of a shooter in the band room doesn’t need to know anything about the building. They simply need to transmit that the shooter is in the room located within grid square E3. Whether or not you’ve ever set foot in the fictional National High School depicted below, it takes mere seconds to gain full spatial awareness.
With a CRG, plans are accessible and understandable. Hundreds of pages can be reduced to a single, easily understood and GeoRelevant™ plan. Using BAE Systems GXP OpsView™ and GXP OnScene™ first responders logged into the free and secure smart device application can instantly communicate in a common language, changes in plans, critical safety updates and adjust resources with pinpoint accuracy. The application allows first responders to visualize their location on the actual plan, and incident commanders the ability to better coordinate the scene because assets can be tracked in real time, regardless of the agency or public safety discipline they represent. For the first time in the history of public safety, everyone will literally be on the same page.