‘Seconds Save Lives’: Andrew Pollack Reveals Groundbreaking School Safety Plan
Meadow Pollack was one of seventeen people to die at the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. She was just eighteen years old.
Meadow’s father, Andrew, has re-dedicated his life to helping ensure that other families will not endure the same tragic loss he did. He’s been proactive, writing a best-selling book, Why Meadow Died: The People and Policies That Created The Parkland Shooter and Endanger America’s Students, with education expert Max Eden. It took first responders an unbelievable 43 minutes to get to Meadow’s body on the third floor the day of the shooting, Andrew Pollack told this reporter.
It took two years of me vetting people and going through and looking at software and learning about it, Intralogic wants to help more. They don’t want to just sell locks and door mechanisms. They have a software with a patent on it that’s pretty incredible, Andrew Pollack
After two years of constant contact with various companies, Pollack began working with Intralogic Solutions Inc., a company based out of Massapequa, New York. Intralogic, which has been in business since 2004, is currently working on security with schools in Florida, New York and around the nation. Their system is called ALERT, which stands for Active Law Enforcement Response Technology. It ties schools to local police departments.
“It took two years of me vetting people and going through and looking at software and learning about it,” Pollack said. “Intralogic wants to help more. They don’t want to just sell locks and door mechanisms. They have a software with a patent on it that’s pretty incredible.”
Through his organization, SchoolSafetyGrant.org, Pollack will provide funding for the software to schools around the nation. ALERT grants will amount to $40,000 for police departments and $20,000 for schools and other entities, such as places of worship, movie theaters and shopping malls.
“We’re going to donate this software to sheriffs departments and police departments through a grant application,” he said. “On my committee, we have victims from a lot of these school shootings across the country, in Sandy Hook, Santa Fe, Colorado, etc. that will all decide who gets these grants.”
The departments that receive this software will have the ability to monitor the schools through existing cameras. They will also have the ability to lock down the school and communicate with students and staff over the intercom in the event of an emergency.
“The dispatchers, while the cops are on their way, are looking at the cameras, they’re seeing where the shooter is so they can guide them when they get to the door and apprehend the person quickly,” said Lee Mandel, Intralogic’s CEO. “And with the PA system, if they can speak to the shooter before they get on the scene and tell the shooter that the cops are in the building or on their way, that’s typically when the shooter kills themself or stops the carnage.”
Mandel calls Pollack the “brainchild” of this project. The two met after the Parkland shooting. At the time Pollack joined this effort, Intralogic was already connecting over 2,000 schools in 150 school districts nationwide with police agencies in their respective areas.
“I met with (Andrew) and other parents who told me that they were looking for a solution that would speed up the response time,” Mandel told this reporter. “We’re going to be granting the software out through Andy’s organization. We will start with $20 million in grants and go from there.”
JT Lewis, 19, of Newtown, Connecticut, has experienced the same type of tragedy of Pollack, having lost his brother, Jesse, in the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012. Since the Stoneman-Douglas attack, Lewis has become close with Andrew and his son, Hunter.
“A big part of what Andrew is trying to do is clean up the communications process during an active shooter or any other situation,” Lewis told this reporter. “Communication between law enforcement and the school is crucial because there are innocents in the crossfire. Police having a visual on the inside of the school will, in turn, keep law enforcement, teachers and students infinitely safer.”
Lewis, a University of Connecticut student, is running for the Connecticut Senate’s 28th district seat as a Republican. “The door locking aspect is genius too,” Lewis added. “The idea is to get the shooter cornered with no children or teachers nearby so the perpetrator can be subdued easily.”
Like Pollack, he has met with President Donald Trump to discuss school safety.
Andrew Pollack, who is Jewish, also sees the growing threat on synagogues, churches and mosques nationwide. Intralogic will be working with houses of worship, including Chabad of Coral Springs.
“This grant when it comes out on February 26 and people start applying for it,” said Mandel. “It’s going to be available for all of these organizations.”
With a rise in anti-Semitism across the country, Chabad of Coral Springs is doing what it can to protect its community.
“This security program specifically is being granted to us by Andrew’s foundation and we are most appreciative,” said executive director Rabbi Avraham Friedman. “Houses of worship being a target is just a reality unfortunately.”
Rabbi Friedman is Pollack’s rabbi and the two have grown closer since Meadow’s death. He says that it is especially important to protect the children that live in a community that has already experienced this type of tragedy they are trying to prevent.
“We want the community to feel that they could come here and pray,” said Rabbi Friedman. “We want kids to be able to come here and have fun.”
Pollack says that in case of an emergency, schools and houses of worship linked to this technology will call 911 and their system will appear in the command center within five to ten seconds thereafter. Chabad of Coral Springs will be working directly with the city’s police department in order to boost its security.
“Andy is one of the most resilient and passionate men I have ever met,” Coconut Creek Police Chief Albert “Butch” Arenal told the Sun-Sentinel in January. “Both as a father and a police chief, I sincerely appreciate his commitment to keeping our kids safe.”
Pollack told this reporter that his goal is to have every police department and school in the country using ALERT. “Seconds save lives,” he added.
To apply for an ALERT grant, click here.
Andrew Pollack’s work doesn’t stop there. He led a fundraising effort to donate a weapon-sniffing dog to the Bradford County (FL) Sheriff’s Department.
I don’t spew nonsense. I like getting things done.
That’s why we raised money for this dog and donated him to the Bradford Country Sheriff’s Department.
— Andrew Pollack (@AndrewPollackFL) February 8, 2020
SaraACarter.com will continue to follow Pollack’s efforts to secure schools and other public buildings across the United States.