Harlan County School Board approves purchase of weapons detection system

Published 4:47 pm Monday, April 1, 2024

The Harlan County School Board approved the acquisition of four weapons detection systems during the board’s March meeting.

Superintendent Brent Roark called on Harlan County Schools Chief of Police Matt Cope to bring the board up to speed on the different options available with an Open Gate weapon detection system from Communications Technology Incorporated.

“He (Roark) mentioned the system they have at Rupp Arena,” Cope said. “Those systems they have there are from the same company, but they are an older system.”

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Cope explained the older systems require things such as asking people to remove cellphones from pockets and empty any bags or backpacks.

“That’s really not practical for us in a school setting, to have to empty backpacks and take out cell phones and that type of thing,” Cope said. “The systems that I’ve looked at are just weapon detection. They focus on density of metals, shapes, that type of stuff. They will allow you to go through with cell phones still in your pockets, things still in your backpack, and will not cause any nuisance alarms.”

Cope said the system’s sensitivity setting could be adjusted as necessary.

“The system (type) I would like to focus on is Open Gate,” Cope said. “These are completely portable and can also operate on batteries, so we would be able to move them if we thought we needed to check people at a football game or anywhere else. It’s less than 2 minutes to set them up, they weigh about 25 pounds.”

Cope explained the Open Gate system is self-contained and while they can be powered with an outside power source, the system can also use batteries.

Cope asked the board to approve four Open Gate systems. He explained four systems along with shipping, installation and training would cost $71,368.60.

“This would significantly enhance safety at our schools,” Cope said. “Many districts throughout the country are going with a similar system.”

Following some discussion, the board approved $71,368.60 for the purchase of four Open Gate Detections Systems from Communications Technology Incorporated.