Carter County Sheriff’s Office improves response times to emergencies with new technology

Published 8:09 am Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Carter County Sheriff’s Office has begun use of new technology to better secure the safety of its deputies and the county as a whole: Automatic Injury Detection Sensors.

The sensors are a plastic membrane that goes inside the vest carrier but on top of the armor, providing an early detection system in the event of a gunshot or other trauma.

Public Information Officer Thomas Gray said the new system is currently in use with the School Resource Officers.

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“Any trauma to the circuit sends a signal to the deputy’s cell phone,” Gray said.

The signal the system sends out can detect many dangerous situations, including a gunshot wound, a knife injury or even simply a car crash. Once the circuit is broken, a microphone activates that lets the officer speak directly to dispatch and anyone else on the line, allowing much faster response times in the heat of an emergency.

“For example, if an officer is shot, pulling out their radio to call in for help might be too difficult,” Gray said. “This way, we immediately know something happened, and we can start assessing the situation and what our response needs to be.”

He said the first few seconds and minutes after an emergency begins can determine whether someone lives or dies.

“No matter what happens, we can have a picture of what is going on,” he said.

The system itself has a battery life that can last for days or even weeks at a time, according to Gray. He said the officers currently using them say they are light and do not feel much different from the vest they already wear.

The technology is the result of a partnership with Sprint mobile and Select Engineering, after a meeting at a conference in Nashville. The sheriff’s department has been working on the technology for several months, and Gray said the School Resource Officers have been utilizing the new technology for a few weeks, getting a feel for how it all works in a smaller environment.

“This is crucial for our deputies,” he said. “This technology can determine the right response to a situation, which helps protect the community and can save lives.”

He said technology like this speeds up response times, which can determine the difference between bleeding out and making it to the hospital.