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Niagara Falls School District embraces new scanner technology for security

Other districts include BPS are looking into new security technology.

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — In Niagara Falls some new technology is in place to protect students and staff, and they may be seeking more. A new sophisticated scanner at school entrances is also being checked out by other school districts including Buffalo.

If you walk into the entrance of the Niagara Falls High School or the middle schools like Gaskill Preparatory, you'll technically be scanned and may not even realize it.

Bryan Dalporto, is the Niagara Falls District School Security Chief and the former Niagara Falls Police Superintendent, who did some research into the system before the district made the over $600,000 commitment to a four year lease with upgrades for at least six of the walk-through scanning devices.  

He explains "It's really taking an old fashioned metal detector to the 2022 version of a body scanner-weapon detection system."

That's a reference to the Evolv technology firm device. It's just like the scanners at Highmark Stadium to focus on any items that may be threatening.

"It works off an algorithm and it'll detect certain types of items or shapes and it depicts just a box over that certain area. What's nice is it gives you the exact location on the person where that item is located. So for instance if it's in his left hand pocket that's what need to check or focus on. We don't have to check the whole person," Dalporto said.     

Niagara Falls School Superintendent Mark Laurrie adds, "The students are now used to it. It's very sensitive. It does pick up things like laptops, umbrella tips, metal glass cases. So there is a learning curve to this. Unless something is indicated on the screen you just go right to class. Now at the beginning of the year we were spending 45 to 50 minutes checking every bag, checking every student - nearly eliminating one period of instruction. This gets the 2,000 people through the school in less than 15 minutes."

2 On Your Side also found that devices are portable and weather safe. In fact it's going to be used at the high school football field during the upcoming June graduation ceremony.

And Laurrie is asking the school board for an additional $800,000 to $1 million in funding to make sure each Niagara Falls school has a secured vestibule and that all of the 340 exterior doors in all the school buildings have alarms installed.


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