New high-tech weapon detectors in three Niagara Falls city schools

"We are looking for weapons"
Posted at 6:14 PM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-22 18:14:22-04

NIAGARA FALLS, NY (WKBW) — The Niagara Falls City School District has installed high-tech weapons screening system in three schools.

The district is spending $641,000 to lease but includes all future technology upgrades.

Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Laurrie told 7 News that new detection units have been installed at three of his city schools, Niagara Falls High School, LaSalle Preparatory, and Gaskill Preparatory.

New weapon detection unit at Niagara Falls High School

“What we’re really paying for is a service agreement,” remarked Laurrie. “It’s to constantly upgrade the technology in it, so that’s a reason the cost is what it is.

As soon students at Niagara Falls High School enter the building, they are walking through this new high-tech weapons detection unit and it detects more than just metal.

school detector 1.jpg
Student through new detector.

“They detect all kinds of shapes that may indicate to us that there's some type of weapon or some type of mechanism that would cause damage to the school,” explained Bryan Dalporto, chief security administrator, Niagara Falls City School District.

This state-of-the-art detection technology is the same kind the NFL and other venues use to quickly process people without having to check each bag, saving 15 to 30-minutes of time.

falls school security 1.jpg
Bryan Dalporto, chief security administrator, Niagara Falls City School District.

“The number one priority of everyone is really the safety of the students and the staff. I think it sends a strong message to anyone — we are looking for weapons to protect our students and staff,” Dalporto said.

In demonstrating how the detection works, I brought in my big bag because it has a lot of stuff in it. The bag set off the detection unit and in the camera recording, you can see it outlines the purse in a red box. That means I must have the school security guard take a look inside.

bag detection.jpg
Certain items will be detected quickly in a bag.

“Take me through what happens if something is found?” Buckley asked.

“So if something is found we would obviously confiscate that. We would contact the school. The security officers would contact the school administration and they would take it from there,” Dalporto replied.

Most importantly these detectors can protect against a potential active shooter.

“Knowing that weapons will be detected immediately is a great relief before that, all we had was a buzzer,” remarked Cynthia Jones, principal, Niagara Falls High School.

Principal Jones tells me she's very happy the detection units are in place because of past threats made to her school.

falls principal.jpg
Cynthia Jones, principal, Niagara Falls High School.

“How confident are you as a school leader that your students would not bring a weapon to school?” Buckley questioned.

“I am very confident that they won’t, but we have to be careful — I mean we can't just live in la-la land and walk around with rose color glasses on. We have to be proactive,” responded Jones.

falls school security.jpg
Security officer at Niagara Falls High School.

“With the metal detectors — it's just like everything will be okay,” Kamara Spencer, junior.

Spencer says it makes her feel safer.

“Do you feel it's important to have these here to keep everyone safe?” Buckley questioned.

“Yes, because it's a lot of things that could happen without them, so with them we just know we're safe,” replied Spencer.

falls students .jpg
Niagara Falls High School students react to the new detection unit.

But Senior Keyona Lamar says she doesn't like the detection unit.

“It’s just metal detectors — they got the cameras. I don't like it, but I feel like it's safe, so t is what it is,” described Lamar.

“The things that we're doing here are really geared toward active shooter situations. We really want to protect life,” Dalporto said.

“It’s kind of a sad day. Who would have ever thought we would have had to do this in a school,” Laurrie noted. “But it would be irresponsible not to do it.”