Critical incident maps help responding officers communicate more effectively
The Michigan House today unanimously approved a measure sponsored by Rep. Mike Mueller that will save lives by helping police officers respond more effectively to active shooter situations and other emergencies in schools.
Mueller – a retired sheriff’s deputy, tactical operator, and veteran – said a tool utilized by the military called critical incident mapping would greatly improve the information available to first responders when they arrive at a school during an emergency. Critical incident mapping uses satellite imaging to create a real-life depiction of a building and the area surrounding it, including labels of importance. A grid is then placed over the map to help police, fire and EMS responders articulate location.
“Clear communication saves lives during an emergency situation,” said Mueller, of Linden. “Critical incident maps allow first responders to accurately share vital information with each other quickly and efficiently, even if the people responding have never before stepped foot on school grounds.”
Since 2000, Michigan school districts have been required to share information with law enforcement in their community to help police respond to incidents on school grounds. This includes building plans, blueprints, or site plans for each school building. Mueller’s plan, House Bill 6042, allows schools to submit digital critical incident mapping data instead.
“I can tell you from my experience serving on SWAT teams in the past that responding to a critical incident situation is incredibly hectic – especially if you’re not familiar with the area,” Mueller said. “If I were to locate the shooter in the library and let other responders know over the radio, it doesn’t mean anything unless they are familiar with the layout of the school. With these maps, responders can easily communicate that a shooter is in the library in grid H4 on the southeast side of the school. Everyone can then respond accordingly.”
Mueller also is fighting to make grant funding available to schools for critical incident mapping through the state budget process. A supplemental budget measure recently approved by the House, House Bill 6012, includes $12.5 million in grant funding for schools to implement critical incident mapping.
Additionally, the spending plan approved by the House in May includes $200 million for school safety grants, $50 million for school resource officers and $8.4 million or each intermediate school district to hire a mental health coordinator and an emergency and safety manager.
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