By Patricia Karlak
A digital campus-mapping system that will cut response time for law enforcement during dangerous incidents on campus is being unveiled at Anaheim High School, making it the first school in the nation to incorporate the sophisticated technology to boost safety and potentially save lives.
“This is a game changer,” said Julian Harvey, Anaheim’s interim police chief. “It reduces the danger and response time for first responders, while assisting in locating a suspect. It won’t prevent a shooting, but we know that time is of the essence when dealing with those situations.”
The digital mapping service was developed by The Sobel Group, a San Diego-based company owned by David Sobel, who retired from a career in law enforcement. For the past 18 years, Sobel’s firm has performed investigations and consulting in school districts throughout the state. It was that work which led him to bring the mapping concept to market.
“I think school districts deserve this,” he said. “After all, they house our most valuable assets, the students.”
Sobel’s firm took 15,000 very high-resolution photographs of Anaheim High and stitched them together to create a virtual tour that is linked to digital floor maps. It gives first responders real photographic images, not graphic images, of a site. Many times, law enforcement has had to make do with maps that show where the buildings are located, but not what they look like inside. Other times, they have had no floor plans, and have to request them. Now, they will have the digital system at their fingertips, in their command centers and cars.
“It takes 30 seconds to access our map, instead of maybe 30 minutes,” Sobel said.